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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Forty Years Ago Today

Today is my fortieth birthday. I'm not sure how I feel about it, part of me wants to celebrate, and part of me feels pretty emotional about it. Mid-life came awfully quickly, with it's wrinkles and aching joints. I've been thinking for a couple of weeks about what I should write about as I pass this milestone, and I realized, what I really wanted to do was ask my mom to be a guest blogger for me. She doesn't think she's a writer, but we share a love of words and books and pages. So, I picked up the phone, crossed my fingers, and made my request.

She emailed me the following post a few days ago, and I cried when I read it. If there's any one person I want to emulate in my next forty years, it is her. She's faced every day with courage, and optimism, and strength. In the past twenty years since her fortieth birthday, I've watched her live life to the fullest, challenge herself, and find the joy in each season. She has always inspired me.

So, in honor of the day she became "Mama", I give you my Mom:

I was thinking today about the fact that my oldest daughter is turning 40 next Tuesday. After I got past the denial in my mind, I began to sort through the hundreds of memories of this beautiful child. Please understand that I say "child" because to me, she will always be my "beautiful child".

Tauna was born exactly two months earlier than the doctor expected. She weighed 4 lbs 3 oz, and in the first few days, dropped down to 3 lbs 8 1/2 oz. She was so tiny, her dad could hold her in one hand. She had to stay in the hospital for 41 days, until she was strong and stable enough to come home. On the positive side, I was so young and inexperienced with babies, that I did not realize the precarious situation in which she, her Dad, and I were now living. In retrospect, we should have been scared to death of taking care of a baby in her condition. But, we took her everywhere we wanted to go, such as Wal-Mart, the grocery store, my parents business, etc. I realize now how dangerous that could have been to a baby whose lungs were not completely developed. However, God was so good to us, and she thrived!

Looking back, I think arriving early for her birth was probably the only time in her life that Tauna has ever gotten into a big hurry. She has always strolled through life, unlike most of us who charge through each day.

She brought such unbelievable joy to our family, that two years later when I found out we were expecting her sister, I was concerned that I could not possibly ever love another child as I did her. Then the discovery came, that God provides mothers with the ability to love each one of her children with a boundless love that just expands with each new child.

Tauna did extremely well in school, after her one bad experience in the first grade. Her teacher called telling us that Tauna was so bored with her school work, that she either threw her work sheets in the trash bin, or glued two pages together and worked the front of one and the back of the other.

The teacher realized that Tauna needed more challenging work. After that, she breezed through school, much to the chagrin of her sister.

When we found Tauna missing from chore duty (which was quite often), we could usually find her curled up somewhere reading. Instead of playing outdoors with her sister and later her brother, Tauna loved her escape into other worlds through books.

As she grew, I realized that she shared my love of words. Even now, we sit around my dining room table discussing "really interesting phrases", or sometimes when one of us is traveling and sees a sign or hears an intriguing phrase, we have to call the other one to say, "Listen to this!" Just recently, Tauna asked me if I would will her my "old blue dictionary". Now, I understand that this request might seem strange to some, but to my daughter and myself, it made perfect sense. Through the years, we have referred to the "old blue dictionary", time and again. All of my children and grand children have fetched it to settle a disagreement or answer a question. It is about 4" thick and 10" high, and holds the treasures we love so well.


As my fortieth birthday was zooming in on me, Tauna presented me with the amazing news that my first grandchildren would soon be arriving! Twins!! Somehow, this news swiftly erased the pain of facing what seemed like my life slipping away!

Today, Tauna is peering around the corner at her fortieth. She seems to be approaching it with her usual calm and inner peace. Viewing it from this side, I want to pass on this wisdom to her. Baby, there are so many wonderful adventures awaiting you. There will be high school graduations, college graduations, new jobs, promotions, marriages, births of grandchildren and great grandchildren, and boundless personal achievements. Face them head on, with your eyes on God, and say, "Come on! I'm ready!"

I placed you in God's hands the day you were born, and have watched as He has molded and shaped you through the years to make you ready for what came next. So, I know you are fully prepared for what's around the next corner. Whether you stroll or charge in, He's waiting to bless you. I love you and am so proud of you, baby.


Thanks, Mom. You made my fortieth birthday unforgettable.

I love you!


Deena said...

Ok, now I'm BAWLING at work after reading that one! What a gorgeous tribute to a gorgeous woman of God...and I'm so proud to call you friend.

Happy Birthday!!

(I'm four years older than you...so that makes me the boss of you:-)

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

Happy Birthday dear friend! Your mom's writing brought tears to my eyes. Sounds like you are each a blessing to the other :-)

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

What a gift!
That has to be the best thing you get on your birthday. 40 years... just getting wound up!

Donetta said...

Happy Birthday Dear Lady

micpro said...

What an amazing gem your mother is. And I love that you both feel 'the old blue dictionary' is will-worthy! My own childhood was filled with many happy memories of reading out loud from our dictionary, so I completely understand the attachment :)

Happy Birthday!

Donetta said...

Thank you for the comment. I appreciate your correction with the name spelling. I have been a little daffy with pain meds and had not fixed that, I did not even have it capitalized. I fixed it to give you the respect due. Thanks for your understanding. You are a very good writer. I would like to encourage you in the process.

Donetta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CrystalChick said...

Hello! I stumbled upon your page by way of 'coffee shops' and then read you recently celebrated a birthday!
Your Mom's words were beautiful. You're blessed. :)
Wanted to wish you a year of peace, love, and light.

Kari said...

Happy belated birthday! I see where your writing ability came from! Reading your mother's words has given me a warm and happy feeling. You are so blessed.

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