When my middle-little-brother-who-actually-seems-like-an-older-brother and his lovely wife had their first baby…
My first baby. My beautiful, widely talented, brown eyed little girl is embarking on a new chapter of life that will change her life maybe more than anything since leaning to walk. She is learning to drive.
And not just the old pickup truck in our back field or her little go cart up and down the long driveway, which were excellent precursors but obviously not the real thing; she is enrolling in actual, real life driving school. Which means that within months she will likely be seen around Oklahoma City, happily giving all of us pretend heart attacks while we secretly celebrate her growing independence.
When she learned to walk, it was such a happy time! She was absolutely joyful about it, like she knew in her wordless baby mind, “Whoa. This is a big deal.” She still enjoyed being held, carried, and cuddled, but walking was the shiz-nay. Her tiny fists could grip an index finger like no body’s business, affording her all the extra balance she needed to make it from couch to chair, etc.
Her chubby, wobbly little legs, that soft, feathery brown hair framing Mary Taylor’s face (her great-grandmother). Glossy, rosebud mouth. And those eyes.
Oh my goodness, she has always had the dreamiest, most liquid brown eyes you can imagine. She still does, and these days they are tastefully accented by some very grown up swipes of black mascara and silver eyeshadow. How I miss watching her animated eyes when she tells a story.
I know that in the future, if we get to hear from her One True Love about why he first fell for her, it will have something to do with her eyes.
Oh, back to driving… This is the summer between her Freshman and Sophomore years in high school, and around here that is just the perfect time to take driving lessons. I couldn’t be happier!!
Having long ago abandoned the idea of sternly not allowing my children to grow up, against my Dad’s strong recommendation, this is a time to celebrate! So celebrate we will.
My hope is that, in addition to staying safe every single minute of every single journey, my almost grown baby girl will make happy memories, gain confidence behind the wheel and around the city streets, and maybe drive out to see us now and then.
She may or may not want me there for her first official trip as Driver, time will tell, but I was there when she took her first step. And I can feel her belly laugh in my own belly when I remember it. And I am so thankful for every bit of growth that has brought her this far. xoxoxo
No? Eh bien… I am content to claim Oklahoma as home and visit Louisiana from time to time.
This isn’t the same building, but it is a New Orleans building with some elusive magnetism.
The Feast of All Saints had three big things going for it even before I swiped my debit card:
- Local author in my very favorite city
- Relatively limited circulation
- Historical fiction off the beaten path
Summertime 2011 will be a season different than any I have ever had in my life, for so many reasons.
- I have been a Mom for sixteen years, but this will be the first summer both of my two beautiful daughters plan to spend full time with their Dad & his family.
- Handsome and I have a busier hobby farm than we have ever had before.
- I am actually on the road to losing weight instead of gaining it.
- The gardens are mostly planted by now, and not just on paper.
- I have a blog, a new, shiny, unscrewed up blog.
- Handsome’s car show calendar is the fullest it’s ever been.
- I am scheduled to be a bridesmaid in our nephew’s wedding.
- Handsome & I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary in July.
- And our very best friends will be sending their youngest off to college in August, a milestone we cannot help but commemorate along with them.
Gulp. Lots going on!
I will use sunscreen & self tanner on my face and throat as often as possible, acknowledging all the while that I am now in my late thirties and no can no longer afford multiple sunburns there. Similarly, I will wash up frequently, because summertime means outside, and outside means dirty (especially around here), and dirty means surprise breakouts. I will not be grody.
I will seize every day for what it offers. No matter the weather or the agenda, I will accept every day for the specialness it bears, because Summertime 2011 will be made up of only about eighty-four days and eighty-four nights. And we all know how quickly those can evaporate, especially in the Oklahoma heat and humidity. I will not luxuriate in the freedom of summer so much that I waste it.
I will send gifts to my children, call them frequently without asking when we’ll see each other again, and pray for them and their Dad and Step mom every day. I will get through this summer without bitterness, and I will conquer the seeds of resentment.
I’ll spend some time with my sweet and wise ol’ Grandpa Rex. He has the prettiest and most productive garden in the world, and he has taught me nearly everything I know about this rewarding art. I hope this isn’t our last summer with him. I will not take my loved ones for granted.
As a little girl I never found tornadoes scary. In fact they were a source of great excitement, testament to the fact that I never had a close enough call with one to become properly frightened. Tornado drills were a welcome interruption to school every spring, several times per season, and our family’s evening meals were frequently set against the backdrop of Gary England’s affable, in fact folksy weather reports and warnings. We had safety plans in place, of course, and my parents always made sure we were safe. But it was just a feature of life.
We grew up learning to recognize wall clouds, hail clouds, and that eerie yellow glow that our skies could adopt with just the right atmospheric changes. We smelled rain, we felt electricty, and we giggled while hiding from tornadoes in the innermost windowless room of the house. For us it was the utility room, and we always wore good shoes, just in case a tornado indeed struck and we had to walk around outside in sharp debris.
As an adult my feelings about tornado season are quite different. I have been through two formidable storms now, and several smaller ones, thankfully uninjured every time. But I have seen the overwhelming dangers as well as the merciless property damage that tornadoes can deliver. Even the best insurance coverage cannot make recovery painless. And of course the loss of life is a very real possibility.
Our hearts go out to the town of Joplin tonight as they buckle down to collect their families and rebuild after the devastating tornado yesterday. The suddenness and brutality of a strong storm like that will rattle your nerves for a very long time.
Kudos, Mom & Dad, for making sure we always felt safe during Oklahoma tornado season. We are so blessed!