Daughter

She’s not a little girl any more.

Yet, Rachel will always be my daughter.  Even if her foot has been bigger than mine for over a year now.  Even if she gets taller than me.  Even when her hair begins to gray and her first wrinkles appear.

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Aunt Jane and Maw-Maw Rachel came for our birthday celebration.

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Sidney helped Rachel with her new watch.

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Then Prairie helped her with her watch.

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She requested something “flamingo-y.”

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Sidney got a hug for those socks.

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One of the best gifts . . . a camera discarded on a shelf, its first purpose fulfilled, finds a new purpose in the hands our girl.

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The birthday girl gifted us with clarinet music.

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Lincoln accompanied her on guitar.

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Maw-Maw Rachel loved it when Prairie and Lincoln sang hymns.

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Happy Birthday, my sweet Rachel, my daughter.

A night full and golden

My girl came home late,

long blonde hair snarled with sticks and leaves.

Brown smudges around her lips

clue to the hot chocolate she drank

in the cold dark,

waiting with her Daddy

for the travelers to Bethlehem,

so he could prophesy while she

pretended to be a log by their campfire.

No one saw her, and she was content

with invisibility.

Because she was with Him.

And that was enough.

I take the brush in hand,  fulfilling my role

and restore the tangled skeins.

Time marches forward

relentlessly dragging us along with it.  And we are gifted with glimpses of joy to tuck in with our sorrow.

Lincoln’s 14th birthday was the day after Grandpa Louis’ burial.

It is hard not to smile at the Child of The Red Lips and Goofy Faces.

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Lincoln with MawMaw Rachel (upper left)

Keegan (upper right)

Grandma Sandy, Sidney and Prairie watch Lincoln (lower left)

Aunt Bree (lower right)

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Prairie and Rachel give Lincoln stuffed kittens for his birthday, which he accepts with charm and grace though he knows it is really a con.  The girls love it when their older brother, Lincoln plays stuffed animals with them.

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Lincoln delights in standing next to me, showing off his latest height gains.

 

“Daddy, If there was a contest on the Best Dad ever,

you would win!”

Rachel speaks her Truth.  It is no small thing to be the core of a daughter’s Truth.  My husband, Sid, has given our children a secure, joyous Truth.

He also inspires our girls to the pinnacle of creative gift-giving, a place most people don’t realize exists.  It is off the beaten path and few trouble themselves to find it.  Rachel ventured off well-worn paths, creating a septic tank game for her daddy. She sewed a septic tank, stuffed it with poly-fil and concealed a yellow button inside for her daddy to find.  In his business, Sid does a fair amount of trouble-shooting when a system does not work properly.  I think the game is Rachel’s vision of what finding septic problems must be like.

And since these girls of ours typically go everywhere together, Prairie was right there with her sister in the creative zone. Prairie made a chimpmunk bobble-ly pen — a writing pen with a chipmunk on a spring that bobbles and wobbles when Sid writes with it.  She was also thoughtful enough to include a spare chipmunk, in case the first chipmunk becomes defective or meets a tragic end.

Sid always knows just the right thing to say,  “This chipmunk pen is a latent need — a need that I didn’t even know I had.”

The boys did not construct imagination-defying crafts or write syrupy sweet cards, but they did make broccoli salad and peanut butter cookies to go with our Father’s Day feast.  Big boys in the kitchen cooking for Dad has its own kind of charm.

Kindred

Over the years, I received many birthday cards from Grandma Louise, most of which have the words “You are special” written in her spidery handwriting.  I bet she wrote that in all the birthday cards she sent.  Though it is tempting to dismiss those often-written words, I see Grandma’s truth more clearly when I look at the picture below.

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Really now.  They ARE special.

Wesley and Sidney, cousins and Grandmother Louise’s great-grandsons, peek at each around a tree.  I am sure both boys have birthday cards tucked away in shoeboxes with Grandma’s words “you are special” written on them.

The above picture and the ones following were taken the day of her funeral.

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A few relatives followed us home from the church service to try out the zipline.  Aunt Carla, mother of 6, takes the COOL & BRAVE MOM award for daring the ride.

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Though wee Ada was perturbed to have to stay with Aunt Rita while her Mom rode.

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Ada did brave the chaos of a mob of relatives to explore on her own for a bit, but a fall in the woods had her wanting her Mama.  Thankfully, big cousin Sidney was there to walk her back.

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It seemed like a good idea to get a picture of some siblings and a cousin from the opposite coast.

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But they got unruly.

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Hmmm . . . . maybe Grandma Louise meant something different when she told these people they were “special.”  I bet she put it in quotes like that.  Hey y’all, I want to see your birthday cards from Grandma.

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Little girl cousins traipsing through the woods . . . .

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Wesley found Nellie, the tire horse swing.  Big cousin Lincoln helped Wesley giddyap.

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Wesley is special enough to get multiple pictures.

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Wesley’s sister, Ada, is trying to smile.

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Sid pulls out his favorite guest-entertainment —- the potato gun.  Cousin Jesse stands aside, watching his Uncle Sid with considerable caution — smart kid.

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Sidney fires a potato into the side of an old barn.

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Prairie and Chloe, favorite cousins, though they almost look like sisters.

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They called this their “silly face.”

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They begged me to take a picture of their “mad face.”

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And this is their . . . .I don’t know what these faces are  . . . . . .

Would Grandma call these their “special faces”?

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It was a special day.

In addition to the memorial service for Grandma, we got to be with family.  We met Sandra, a west coast cousin, whom I had always heard about but never met.  She came back to the house with us and we learned how delightful she is.

There were so many people that I didn’t photograph, so many daring, fun, “special” descendants of Grandma Louise.  It is hard to think of all these people and not believe that inclusion in her lineage is somehow special, a kind of chosen.  I am not a blood relation, but I feel so blessed to have been grafted into this family, to be connected to these kindred which sounds like and feels sacred.

I will always remember these people and this time as special, just like Grandma said.