A Very Special Woman Would be 100 Today

   It’s been a few years since I wrote the first post celebrating an important woman in my life – my very special Auntie Arlene Buelow. I’ve updated the post over the years, noting birthdays and special occasions as they occurred. Today marks the second birthday without her physical presence in my world; she went home to Jesus on January 12, 2017. On this day, Auntie Arlene would be 100 years old, and the empty space is palpable,even a year-and-a-half later. 

     Auntie Arlene was unique on multiple levels. She was the daughter of a twin, and she married a twin, my dad’s brother, Elmer. She became the mother of twins, my cousins, Jane and Janice. Even more, she became the great grandmother of twins, which I always thought was fairly awesome! On another level, I saw her dressed in what she called her “barn clothes” complete with bandanna, overalls, and workboots because she worked the farm side-by-side with my my Uncle Elm. She maintained a “kitchen garden” as well as many of my grandmother’s plants. She’d come in from outside, get “washed up” and dress for company, putting on an apron to prepare plenty of food for a crowd. Auntie Arlene was a multi-faceted woman for sure.

     Why was she so special to me? It was through her that I was able to purchase the original Buelow homestead in rural Shawano county, which became my home for thirteen years. Living near her allowed our relationship to blossom and we spent a fair amount of time together, many meals shared at the table in her apartment in town, many heartfelt conversations. We talked about everything- especially family history, much of which was recorded in her Bible. We discussed religion – theology and doctrine – as well as politics, all those things one isn’t supposed to speak of  in polite company. We didn’t always agree, but we could say anything and even share a chuckle over our differences. She kept me informed about local events – people we knew and who knew our family. We discussed world and sociopolitical events as well. She kept her mind busy, and for a long time, was an avid Packers fan; she could tell you names and stats. 

     For me, the most treasured piece of our relationship was that she was always in my corner, my biggest encourager. When I was debating grad school and ministry, she advised my to go for it, an affirmation I received gladly and gratefully. When I got my first Master’s degree in Christian ministry:pastoral counseling, I took that diploma to her and we opened it together. It was huge, much larger than the bachelor’s diplomas and we had all kinds of fun with that. It was like a scroll; I said I felt like the mayor of Oz, which caused a fair amount of laughter. She held one corner and I unrolled that diploma while my cousin, Jane, took pictures and joined in the fun! When I received my Master of Divinity (Mdiv) diploma in May of last year, I spoke with Jane and we agreed that her mom/my aunt was indeed smiling at, and cheering for, me. And while I knew she was in a better place, I missed being able to take a diploma to her one more time.

     Auntie Arlene was my faithful encourager. When I was looking for confirmation of the path I had chosen, she reminded me why I was on it in the first place, another reason she was so special to me. I knew without a doubt that she was praying for me during my cancer battle and throughout my grad school journey; she told me so, regularly. She was a prayer warrior for her entire family, and I was blessed to be counted among them. 

     My Auntie Arlene was an influence from my youngest years. The Buelows were a large crew and on any given Sunday, any number of aunts and uncles with all the cousins would show up to share a meal and an afternoon of socializing. She had a beautiful, ready smile and everyone was welcome at her table. 

     My precious Auntie Arlene would be 100 today. Enjoy the photos; I have so many it’s hard to choose. We took a selfie every week when I visited. Our system was that I’d focus my phone camera and hold it, while she reached up and pushed the button. Below  is one of my all-time favorite photos, Auntie Arlene and me, approximately 1959, on the front steps of the Buelow homestead. We re-staged that photo in August, 2011, without me sitting on her lap, of course. As you see, there was lots of love and laughter shared that day! Thank you for allowing me to reminisce  Grace and peace, y’all!! 

      

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Happy summer solstice!!

Today is the first day of summer, 2018. I’m singing one of three favorite summer songs. Summertime was composed by American icon, George Gershwin, in 1934. It’s supposedly been covered multiple thousands of times – everyone from Billie Holiday (1936), to Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (1958), even Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company in 1968.  

     This is the season of fresh food – luscious tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob, peas in the pod, with brats and burgers, coleslaw and potato salad, gardens coming into their full beauty, as well as perfect beach days, awesome summer night skies, and big, booming thunderstorms! King Solomon wrote that there is a season for everything, (Ecclesiastes 3:1), and this is, with all its glorious 90° days, a season to celebrate!! Grace and peace, y’all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnXLVTi_m_M

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FATHER’S DAY 2018

     Today’s brief post is to honor my dad on this 2018 Father’s Day. Regular readers know my father is a a pastor, who has been ministering for nearly 63 years. I am the oldest and only female of his four children. My father is a wordsmith (wordie); I might well have inherited my love of languages and books from him. The photo below of my dad, Leonard P. Buelow, and me, was taken over a half-century ago, on the farm where he grew up,and on which I lived for 13 years. Dad inspired me in numerous ways, and I love that when I, his only daughter, was in the seminary, he mentored and assisted, More than once I called him “saying, Dad, I need a verse.” And I got a verse. I raided his extensive religion/theology library, and bounced questions and ideas off him regularly during the seminary years. Happy Father’s Day, I love you!!

     That completes this brief celebratory post. Enjoy the treasured photo :

 LeeAnn and Dad at the Farm, circa 1958.

 

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Happy 64th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!

     Regular readers know I celebrate special days. A week ago today, June 5, 2018, the special day was my mom’s 87th birthday. Today’s feature is both my parents as they celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary.

     One week after my mom’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, a not-yet-ordained minister, married in Rhode Island, a long way from a farm in Shawano County, WI. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they traveled to Wisconsin and spent the summer at The Farm with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children. The city girl was visiting the country for the second time; in her absence Grandma Buelow had hired a contractor to install indoor plumbing – for Mom, a most welcome addition. They came from different backgrounds, but shared similar values: faith and family. Dad was one of ten children born and raised on that wonderful old place I used to call home. Mom was an only child from the East, a city girl. Their love and commitment have sustained them all these years.

     After their Wisconsin summer, they set sail for Germany and grad school for my dad. Now expecting me, they packed everything they needed to set up housekeeping in a foreign country for one year with a baby on the way. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of the plan. They went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which is a treasured possession of mine.  In a day without Internet, cell phones or digital devices, they set off, leaving home and families behind. I believe news of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 64 years through all the trials and tribulations common to humankind.

     When their year in Germany came to a close, they flew to Paris for a few days. Mom says, precocious baby that I was, the time in Paris might have been when I developed my love of all things French :).  An interesting side note: I was the first baby to fly Lufthansa after it reverted to commercial flights following World War II; it even made the papers! And in those days all three of us traveled on one passport – my dad’s. They settled in Shawano, WI, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.

     They had three more children, all boys, then Dad accepted an invitation (known as a Call) to serve in another church, and our family moved to Green Bay in 1965, where Mom and Dad remain to this day.  Once the nest was empty, they built a custom home with a music room for Mom and a study for Dad. Faith and church are still central in their lives. They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad in the church they planted in 2013. They have a piece of woods on their property and an added four-seasons room, where they share their meals, morning devotions, host family gatherings, and enjoy great views of wildlife and changing seasons outside their windows.

     They’re a team – when Mom teaches late, Dad prepares dinner, sets the table for two, and they eat together when she’s through. When Dad has a meeting, Mom prepares; together they clean up.  It’s actually amusing to spend time there; after meals, I have learned to just get out of the way and not interrupt their routine and rhythm. Breakfast is a treat – Dad makes my egg, slices my grapefruit into sections and I’m privileged to share their post-breakfast devotions and prayers. That’s how they begin every day. Several years ago, faced with extensive repairs on Mom’s vehicle, they spent a few days away at a favorite place and on their return, purchased a new Buick, having decided to become a one-car couple, and it’s working well. They are truly a team.

     They travel frequently, taking a major road trip at least once a year, along with frequent trips to visit family in Kentucky, as well as whatever other opportunities present themselves. Mom schedules and books the trips, on which, Dad drives and Mom navigates. They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater, and fine dining. In a few weeks, they will do an overnight trip to Milwaukee, for a Brewers’ (baseball) game, something they do annually.

     They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, ensembles for Mom, along with gifts for family that they discover along the way. My dad has a penchant for choosing absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures; she says the cards, themselves, are gifts. They’re patient with one another and at 87 and nearly 93, they have spent considerably more than half their lives together.  In February, ’17, Meghan Lee, Brian, and I met them in Atlanta where we walked the entire Atlanta Aquarium, billed as the world’s largest indoor aquarium. I walked behind them for the fun of watching them wander hand-in-hand; always connected, a photo of which is below, also. The last photo shows my folks at home, earlier this year. That wraps this celebratory post, which I am thrilled to share with y’all!     

                                                                               

Leonard & Carola Lovin’ Life Together!

 

Navigating life hand-in-hand

 

 

Folks at Home 2018

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM 2018 UPDATE!

          Today’s post is about a special person, my mom. On this day, Carola Esther Buelow (CEB), is 87 years old. As you can see from the photo below, she looks fabulous. I believe that’s because she is active, vibrant, and completely engaged in life, doing the things about which she is most passionate. Mom teaches piano nearly full-time, as she has since I was young, interacting with, and impacting, multiple families each week. She also works side-by-side and hand-in-hand with my dad in the church they planted in 2013.

          I called Mom to get some background for the original birthday post in 2012; I rediscovered and learned some interesting facts. I’ve always known her to be an intelligent woman, graduating summa cum laude from University of Rhode Island as a member of Phi Kappa Phi, an academic fraternity, on June 8, 1953. That was also the day on which she became engaged to my dad. I have a harder time picturing her as a sorority gal, which she was – Alpha Delta Pi.  Among my daughters, Mom, and me, there’s a joke that back in the day “Grandma smoked cigarettes and dated sailors.” I share this joke with her permission; it makes us all giggle, probably shared for the first time on one of our ten annual four-day weekends in Chicago, trips that hold many special memories. Just look at her photo below, see the twinkle in her eyes.

          This is a woman who has taught dozens of people, young and old, to make music; I know many of her students and those families cherish their relationship with her, any number of them multigenerational.  She’s a teacher at heart, even taught French at the Lutheran elementary school my brothers and I attended.

     This is a woman ahead of her time.  After marrying my dad, she moved with him halfway across the country and spent the summer on the Buelow family farm (Her Father’s Homestead), a place dear to my heart, as many of you know. It was her second visit to The Farm, as my family called it.  As a wedding gift, Grandma Buelow had installed indoor plumbing. The city girl, an only child, lived at The Homestead, filled with family, for three months before traveling by steamer across the ocean to Germany in a day when cross-country and transoceanic travel were not common, leaving her family on the East Coast.  In Germany, far from family and friends, she gave birth to me, in an era when fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room, though she was in a foreign country with limited knowledge of the language.

     I’ve told my daughters often, usually referring to the Buelow side of our family, that we come from hardy stock.  Writing these words gives new meaning to that picture.  My mom, known as Gma to my daughters is as hardy as the best of them.  I am most happy to share her with you.  Joyeux Anniversaire, ma mére.  I love YOU! 

      A vibrant woman!

            

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME: 2018 UPDATE!!

 

     Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Twelve years ago, Easter Sunday was April 16. Visiting daughters tricked me (they lied, actually) into my truck and drove to the small local hospital. After a CT scan, the emergency room doctor delivered the findings, prefaced by the words “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everybody’s Easter dinners. Two days later, Tuesday, April 18, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain. Later he delivered the news that the tumor they had removed was malignant and I had a fairly virulent form of brain cancer. 

     Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given the information. The stats were fairly grim; conventional medical prognosis for that cancer is 12-18 months to live. In my worldview, the clinical folks leave out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

     Those plans included handling that tumor and twelve years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is also a bittersweet day because I’ve lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last three years and the other six years ago, the day after my  survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

     I wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, asking the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? What is the plan? Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but in my heart of hearts, I believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about twelve years ago when I was diagnosed.  

     My friends are gone, their families grieved, each in their own way and time. Yet I know, on this beautiful  April morning in South Carolina, that my Heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand.  I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God has still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be alive, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and I will continue to move forward and play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

     As I say repeatedly in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you. Share with me, please, my joy that twelve years later I am alive and well!  Thank you for joining me in in giving thanks and celebration; be blessed 

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A Special Woman 2017

     Six years ago, I wrote the first post celebrating an important woman in my life, my very special Auntie Arlene. I updated the post in 2012, in honor of of her 94th birthday. Today, Auntie Arlene would be 99 years old, but she went home to Jesus in January. It feels strange, this first birthday without her in my world. I spoke to one of her daughters today, my cousin, Jane Buelow Luepke, one of the twins mentioned in the very first post. We reminisced and Jane shared a few details I had not known before. 

     My Auntie Arlene was unique in that she was the daughter of a twin, she married a twin, my dad’s brother, Elmer, and she became the mother of twins, my cousins, Jane and Janice. Additionally, she became the great grandmother of twins, which I always thought was fairly awesome! Why was this woman so special to me? It was through her that I was able to purchase the original Buelow homestead in rural Shawano county, which became my home for thirteen years. Living near her allowed our relationship to blossom and we spent a fair amount of time together, many lunches shared at the table in her apartment in town, many heartfelt conversations. We talked about everything- especially family history, much of which was recorded in her Bible. We discussed religion and politics, all those things one isn’t supposed to talk about in polite company. We didn’t always agree, but we could say anything and share a chuckle over our differences. She kept me informed about local events, and we discussed world events as well. For me, the most treasured piece of our relationship was that she was always in my corner, my biggest encourager. When I was debating grad school and ministry, she advised my to go for it, an affirmation I received gladly and gratefully. When I got my first Master’s degree in Christian ministry:pastoral counseling, I took that diploma to her and we opened it together. It was huge, much larger than the bachelor’s diplomas and we had all kinds of fun with that big diploma; it was like a scroll and I said I felt like the mayor of Oz, which caused a fair amount of laughter. She held on to one corner and I unrolled that diploma while my cousin, Jane, took pictures and joined in the fun! When I received my Master of Divinity (Mdiv) diploma this past May, I spoke with Jane and we agreed that her mom/my aunt was indeed smiling at, and cheering for, me. And while I knew she was in a better place, I missed being able to take a diploma to her one more time.

     Auntie Arlene was my faithful encourager. When I was looking for confirmation of the path I had chosen, she reminded me why I was there. And that is the reason she was so special to me. I knew without a doubt that she was praying for me during my cancer battle and throughout my grad school journey; she told me so, regularly. She was a prayer warrior for her entire family, and I was blessed to be counted among them. 

     My Auntie Arlene was an influence from my youngest years. The Buelows were a large crew and on any given Sunday, any number of aunts and uncles with all the cousins would show up to share a meal and an afternoon of socializing. She had a ready smile and always welcomed everyone to her table. 

     Enjoy the photos; I have so many it’s hard to choose. We took a selfie every week when I visited. We had a system where I’d focus my phone camera and hold it, while she reached up and pushed the button. Below  is one of my all-time favorite photos, Auntie Arlene and me, approximately 1959, on the front steps of the Buelow homestead.

Arlene and LeeAnn 1959

We re-staged that photo in August of 2011. Of course, I didn’t sit on her lap, but we had lots of fun and shared laughter, as you see. 

     Please share in my bittersweet joy as I reminisce. She lived long and she lived well. I hope that each of you has someone who supports and encourages you as unconditionally as she did for me! And as I say often in these pages, hold those you love close and tell them, regularly and often, how very much they mean to you. Be blessed †                    

                                My very special  Auntie Arlene would be 99 today.  

 

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HAPPY 63rd Anniversary, Mom and Dad !! 2017

 

 6.12.1954     Regular readers know I celebrate special days. A week ago today, our family noted  my mom’s 86th birthday, which wasn’t posted as usual,  due to site updating.  

     Today we celebrate both my parents in honor of their 63rd wedding anniversary. Yep, one week after my mom’s 23rd birthday, she and my dad, a not-yet-ordained minister, married in Rhode Island, a long way from a farm in Shawano County. After a honeymoon in Washington, D.C., they traveled  to Wisconsin and spent the summer at the Homestead with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children. The city girl was visiting the country for the second time; in her absence Grandma Buelow had  hired a contractor to install indoor plumbing – for Mom, a most welcome addition. They came from different backgrounds, but had similar values: faith and family. Dad was one of ten children born and raised on the wonderful old place I used to call home, a homestead in a rural Wisconsin  county. Mom was an only child from the East, a city girl.  Their love and commitment have sustained them all these years.

          After their Wisconsin summer, they set sail for Germany and grad school for my dad. Now expecting me, they packed everything they needed to set up housekeeping in a foreign country for one year with a baby on the way. I cannot even imagine the magnitude of the plan; they went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which is a treasured possession of mine.  In a day without Internet, cell phones or digital devices, they set off, leaving home and families behind. I believe news of my birth was telegraphed to family in WI and Rhode Island. They laid a foundation that has held firm for 63 years through all the trials and tribulations common to humankind. 

     When their year in Germany came to a close, they flew to Paris for a few days; Mom says, precocious baby that I was, the time in Paris might have been when I developed my love of all things French :).  An interesting side note: I was the first baby to fly Lufthansa after it reverted to commercial flights following World War II; it even made the papers. And in those days all three of us traveled on my dad’s passport. They settled in Shawano, WI, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.  

     They had three more children, all boys, before Dad accepted an invitation (known as a Call) to serve in another church, and the family  moved to Green Bay in 1965, where Mom and Dad remain to this day.  Once the nest was empty, they built a custom home with a music room for Mom and a study for Dad. Faith and church are still central  in their lives. They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad at the church they planted in 2013. They have a piece of woods on their property and an added four-seasons room, where they share their meals, morning devotions, host family gatherings, and enjoy great views of wildlife and changing seasons outside their windows. 

     They’re a team – when Mom teaches late, Dad prepares dinner, sets the table for two and they eat together when she’s through. When Dad has a meeting, Mom prepares; together they clean up.  It’s actually amusing to spend time there; after meals, I have learned to just get out of the way and not interrupt their routine and rhythm. Breakfast is a treat – Dad makes my egg, slices my grapefruit into sections and I’m privileged to share their post-breakfast devotions. That’s how they begin every day. A couple years ago, faced with extensive repairs on Mom’s vehicle, they spent a few days away at a favorite place and on their return, purchased a new Buick, having decided to become a one-car couple, and it’s working out well. They are truly a team. 

     They travel frequently, taking a major road trip at least once a year, along with frequent trips to visit family in Kentucky, along with whatever other opportunities present themselves. Mom schedules and books the trips, on which, Dad drives and Mom navigates. They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater, and fine dining. Last week, they did an overnight to Milwaukee, for a Brewers’ (baseball) game, Dad’s birthday gift to Mom. They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, and dresses and ensembles for Mom, as well as gifts for family that they discovered along the way. My dad has a penchant for choosing absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures; she says the cards, themselves, are gifts. They’re patient with one another and at 86 and almost 92, they have spent considerably more than half their lives together. Enjoy the photo below taken at their 60th celebration in 2014. In February, ’17, Meghan Lee, Brian, and I met them in Atlanta where we walked the entire Atlanta Aquarium, billed as the world’s largest indoor aquarium. I walked behind them for the fun of watching them wander hand-in-hand; always connected, a photo of which is below, also.    That wraps this celebratory post, which I am thrilled to share with y’all! 

                                                           Joyeaux anniversaire de mariage!!  Je t’aime!        

Navigating life hand-in-hand!

 CELEBRATION 6.8.14

60th Anniversary celebration

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Happy Anniversary to Me!! 2016 Update

Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Ten years ago today, Easter Sunday that year, my visiting daughters stuffed me into my truck and headed to the small, local hospital, where doctors were stunned by what they found.  A fairly large mass in my head, so big that the ER doc, in explaining it, said, “I cannot believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupted everybody’s Easter dinners and two days later, a neurosurgeon and his team took a buzz saw to my skull and a scalpel to my brain.  Later he visited me in the night and delivered the news that the tumor they removed was malignant and I had a fairly aggressive form of brain cancer.  Waiting daughters, family, and friends had already been given information and the stats were not great; but the clinical world leaves out a huge piece and that piece is a fairly major game-changer. My Father had plans and as He says in His book, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Those plans included handling that tumor and TEN years later, despite enormous odds and severe statistics, I surely do have hope and a future and I’m on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  This is also a bittersweet day because I have lost two friends to the same disease, one in the last six months, and the other three years ago, the day after my seven-year survival anniversary. Yet here I am alive and well, and most content.

I’ve wondered, sometimes aloud, during my friends’ ordeals, asked the perennial questions about the mind of God when He wrote the story so long ago. Why are some folks here for longer or shorter durations than others? What’s the plan?  Those are unanswerable questions in this temporal world, but I still believe in an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God, that did, indeed, write the story before the world began, as we first talked about ten years ago when I was diagnosed.  

So my friends are gone and their families grieve, each in their own way and time. Yet I know on this beautiful April morning in South Carolina, that my heavenly Father has the plan firmly in hand and that despite my friends’ families’ losses, they would not begrudge me the celebration of this anniversary in my life. I will celebrate that I am here, that for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here, to have family and friends with whom to share this post, and I will continue to move forward and play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say repeatedly  in these pages, hold your loved ones close; tell them regularly and often how very valuable they are to you and share with me, please, my joy that ten years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed†

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN LEE, 2015!!

 

     Today we celebrate Erin Lee, my elder daughter born 31 years ago tonight, just shy of midnight, changing my world forever. I knew she was going to be Erin Lee, no ultrasound needed. When I told my obstetrician that I was embroidering her Christmas stocking and already had her name across the top, he reminded me that the odds were 50/50. When I told him that I was working on her Christmas dress – red velveteen and white satin – he just shook his head. Then she was born, four days overdue, making a dramatic entrance in her own time – Erin Lee – I just knew. 

     She was tiny, five pounds, thirteen ounces, and I was smitten. I asked that her bassinet be left with me, couldn’t imagine letting them whisk her off to a nursery. I wanted to get to know this little miracle and the journey began. What I couldn’t possibly have known was the depth of motherly love that would overtake me instantly and continue to grow. Though she lives far away in a city she loves, I believe we are close at heart, more alike than not, though she might not always claim that :).  I’ve had occasion to tell her over the years that there is absolutely nothing on the face of this earth that could possibly change the fact of my unconditional love for her; she will always be my Erin Lee.

AN ARTIST'S VIEW

    With her permission, I describe her as 105 pounds of pure spitfire. She’s an artist  in personality and temperament, unlike myself; I’ve always been amazed at how she sees the world, from little on, with totally different eyes than mine. I’ve saved samples of her art over the years; a fascinating journey through the developing eye and mind of an artist’s view of her world, always a unique perspective.  It will provide the back-story when she’s famous, having her first gallery show.  In the meantime, three of her paintings hang in my home, I wear several pieces of her jewelry and I keep a file of her work, updated often, on my phone and my PC.      

     An early reader, having completed the Laura Ingalls Wilder series at age six (a gift from her first-grade teacher during one of her many hospitalizations), she’s intelligent and articulate. I used to joke that all the time spent in an oxygen tent paid off beautifully, the silver lining to difficult days of chronic illness first manifested when she was just five months old. Erin has a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pépé Le Pew, as well as a first-rate imitation of Lady from the movie Lady and the Tramp.This was a little girl who let you know with a toss of her hair, that she knew without doubt that she was special. When Erin Lee laughs, everybody laughs, it’s positively contagious.  She’s fiercely loyal with a wicked wit. If you’re close to her, she may challenge you in ways that test your soul, but the result is always worthwhile.

      Erin Lee loves to travel. In January of 2014, she took her first solo trip – to Iceland – looking for artistic inspiration. This year began with a trip to Hawaii and included the traditional Hawaiian pineapple tattoo. HAWAIIAN_TATTOO_CROPPED

       There is a new addition in the lives of Erin Lee and Brandon.  Several weeks ago she texted a photo of what she called my “new grandogter“.  In addition to the cats, they have opened their home to Andy, short for Andromeda, fulfilling one of Erin’s dreams – a dog of her own.

     My firstborn child is 31 today, three decades under her belt. I am so very proud of the woman she is and I am a better person for being her Mumma Lee. Blessings, Erin Lee†  Thank you for the joy you’ve brought me over these 31 years. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. Joyeux Anniversaire; je t’aime en pièces (translation: “I love you to pieces.”)   (1)  The parenthetical one is our long-distance hug.

         Enjoy the photos, one of Erin Lee in her historic Hawaiian hotel and the other in Seattle with Brandon.

 

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