HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!! 2015 EDITION

Regular readers know I favor Special Days. Often they are birthdays of people important to me.  And that is the subject of this day – the fourth edition of a birthday blog about my mom, a woman about whom I have rarely posted, other than teasing about the habits I believe I inherited from her. Today, my mom, Carola Esther Buelow (CEB), is 84.  As you can see from the picture below, taken at Meghan Lee’s wedding in 2012, she doesn’t look her age. She’s active, vibrant and works virtually full-time teaching piano, which she loves.  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 2012 post; 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, the day on which she also became engaged to my dad.

I have a harder time picturing her as a sorority gal, which she was – Alpha Delta Pi.  Between my daughters, Mom and me, there’s a joke that back in the day “Grandma smoked cigarettes and dated sailors;” that’s a fact that I post  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, many 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 farm, yes, right here at Her Father’s Homestead where, 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 parents on the East Coast.  And in Germany, far from family and friends, she gave birth to me, when fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room and 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 has given new meaning to that picture.  My mom, known as Gma to my daughters and CEB in my own writing, is as hardy as the best of them.  I am most happy to share her with you.  Joyeux Anniversaire, ma mére.  I love YOU!             

CEB March '12

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME!! 2015 UPDATE

 Yes, indeed, I am one fortunate woman, sharing my story and my joy with y’all. Nine years ago today was Easter Sunday 2006; 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 explaining it, said, “I can’t believe you can walk with the size of that thing growing in your head.”  I was shipped off to Green Bay, interrupting everyone’s Easter dinners. 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 the most aggressive form of brain cancer. Waiting daughters, family and friends had already been given the word; 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, (Jeremiah 29:11)  “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.”

Those plans included handling that horrible cancer and nine years  later, despite enormous odds, severe statistics (my favorite doc says a study currently under review says only 12% are still breathing five years out ), and side effect challenges, I surely do have hope and a future and am on a mission to share the blessings and the joy!  

Today is also bittersweet; two years ago this day, I attended the funeral of a friend who lost his five and-a-half-year battle with the same cancer I had. Yet here I am, well and most content. During my friend’s ordeal with this ugly disease, I pondered life, 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? Why me? 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 discussed nine years ago when I was diagnosed.  

We talked about this last week around our Easter dinner table, shared grins at the memories and reminisced about events of those confusing days. Today on this beautiful, sunny morning, I am celebrating  that I am here, despite all side effects and odds, just four weeks shy of completing my first Master’s degree and that, for whatever reason, God’s still got me on my feet. I am most grateful to be here with loved ones and friends, to play my part in the story, hopefully with grace and dignity.  

As I say often 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 nine years later I am alive and well!  Be blessed†

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN LEE, 2014!!

Today we celebrate Erin Lee, my elder daughter born 30 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. And 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 was and always will be my Erin Lee. 

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. With a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pepe Le Pew, and a first-rate imitation of Lady (of 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.

  My firstborn child is 30 today, three decades under her belt. I am so very proud of the woman she has become and I am a better person for being her Mumma Lee. Blessings, Erin Lee and thank you for the joy you’ve brought me over these 30 years. I’d do it all over in a heartbeat. Joyeux Anniversaire; je t’aime en pièces  (1) The parenthetical one symbolizes our long-distance hug.

                                                           Quintessential Erin Lee   6.8.14      

                                             QUINTESSENTIAL                    ERIN LEE 6.8.14

                                         Enjoy the photos below courtesy of Emily Eddy. 

 The artist in black 2014

The artist in black 2014

ERIN LEE  fALL 2014

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEGHAN LEE, 2014!

It’s time for what is becoming the annual birthday post. Twenty-nine years ago this evening, I met my younger daughter, Meghan Lee, for the first time. Weighing in at just six pounds, she showed early signs of being her own person, struggling to be released from the hospital swaddling that her sister, a year earlier, had found so comforting.  An early reader determined to keep up with her sister, she began calling me Mother, likely based on something she read in a book; not mom and not just to my face, but in reference to me as well.  It was very noticeable coming from this little person, so formal – Mother.  She still does, today, but I’m used to it and no longer feel like Joan Crawford. That’s Meghan Lee, no nicknames, please. Being her mother, one might accuse me of bias, but I am so very proud of the woman she has become. I am blessed to be close to her, not in proximity, but in mind and heart, the places that really count. I have watched her grow over the years, overcoming challenges and learning to soar like an eagle!!

This past year was one of continued growth in grace and beauty for Meghan Lee, who, in 2011, began a tradition of wearing a tiara on her birthday, even on the bike; this year she intends to wear a tiara on the beach where she will enjoy a warm day “with toes in the sand.”  The 2012 birthday post talked about a major life event, marriage to R. Brian Smith, known to me as FSIL. They continue to grow closer and are, as I describe it, incredibly well matched. They have embarked on fitness challenges like the Tough Mudder , completing it twice, and DIY home renovations. Together they are into weight training and running. Another new venture is gardening, with which I’m thrilled. I always told her it’s in the Buelow genes; we love to “play in the dirt.” For years she denied it because of spiders – my fault for making my daughters pick too many beans as children, or so they said. In typical fashion, Meghan did the research and came up with a plan for raised beds, which she and Brian built together.  More research led to plans for squirrel-proofing those beds, which she designed, they built, and now their gardens are safe from critters.

My younger daughter turns 29 today and I couldn’t be more pleased to claim her though I’m learning to share her with Brian. She is intelligent, kind, loving, and generally an exceptional human being, grown now, with a family of her own –  Brian and three cats. Ride on Tiara Girl…   

I’m thanking the Lord for putting her in my arms and into my care – a gift to me beyond compare.   Joyeux anniversaire, Meghan Lee, je t’aime en bric, broc, our French slang for “I love you to pieces.”  Literal translation is I love you to bits and chunks, which makes us giggle.  Enjoy the photo – Meghan’s choice – and join me in wishing a most wonderful new year of life to Meghan Lee Smith!

                                                     Be blessed, my darlin’ daughter!!         

                                               (photo courtesy of Autumn Craig)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                    

 

 

                                

  

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HAPPY 60th ANNIVERSARY TO MY PARENTS!

   

WEDDING DAY, 6.12.1954

WEDDING DAY, 6.12.1954

 Regular readers know I celebrate special days.  Last week we celebrated my mom’s 83rd birthday. Today we celebrate both my parents in honor of their 60th 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 came to Wisconsin and spent the summer here at the Homestead with my grandma, aunt and uncle and their three children.  The city girl was vising the country for the second time, during which my Grandma Buelow 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 in this house I call home; Mom was an only child from out East.  Yet they had a lot in common and it has 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 – remember, they went by ship with all their belongings in two steamer trunks, one of which has a featured spot on my back porch.  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 60 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 may 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.  And in those days all three of us traveled on one passport – my dad’s. They settled in Shawano, where my dad was ordained and installed as a pastor at St. James Lutheran Church.  

     They had three more children, all boys and answering a Call, moved to Green Bay in 1965, where they 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 and foundational to their lives.  They work together, Mom serving alongside Dad at the church they planted since their last anniversary. They have a piece of woods on their property and a few years ago added a 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; on the occasional evening/night I spend there, 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. 

     They travel, taking several trips each year.  Mom books reservations at their favorite places and on road trips, at least two annually, Dad drives and Mom navigates.  They play together, sharing an enjoyment of miniature golf, theater and fine dining.  They shop together on their travels, often coming home with new suits for Dad, complete with great shirts and ties, and dresses and outfits for Mom. My dad has a penchant for picking absolutely beautiful cards, which Mom treasures. They’re patient with one another and at 83 and almost 89, they’ve spent considerably more than half their lives together.   Enjoy the photo below taken at their celebration four days ago.         Joyeaux  anniversaire de mariage!!  I love you! 

SAMSUNG CSC 

                                                 

                                                                                              

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Happy Birthday, Mom – 2014 Edition!!

 

Regular readers know I favor Special Days. Often they are birthdays of people important to me.  And that is the subject of this  day – the third version of a birthday blog about my mom, a woman about whom I have rarely posted, other than teasing about the habits I believe I inherited from herToday, my mom, Carola Esther Buelow, is 83.  As you can see from the picture below, taken at Meghan Lee’s wedding wedding in 2012, she doesn’t look her age.  She’s active, vibrant and works virtually full-time teaching piano, which she loves.  She also works side-by-side and hand-in-hand with my dad in the church they planted since her last birthday.

 I called Mom to get some background for the original 2012 post; I rediscovered and learned some interesting facts. I’ve always known her to be an intelligent woman, graduating summa cum laude ( “with highest honors”) from University of Rhode Island as a member of Phi Kappa Phi, an academic fraternity, on June 8, 1953, the day on which she also became engaged to my dad.

I have a harder time picturing her as a sorority gal, which she was – Alpha Delta Pi.  Between my daughters, Mom and me, there’s a joke that “Grandma smoked cigarettes and dated sailors,” back in the day. That’s a fact that I post here 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 holds 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, many 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 farm, yes, right here at Her Father’s Homestead, where 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 parents on the East Coast.  And in Germany, far from family and friends, she gave birth to me, when fathers weren’t allowed in the delivery room and 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 has given new meaning to that picture.  My mom, known as Grandma or Gma to my daughters and CEB in my own writing, is as hardy as the best of them.  I am most happy to share her with you.  Joyeux Anniversaire, ma mére.  I love YOU!                                               

CEB, 3.24.12

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Bunnies With No Heads – A Tale of Hope and Encouragement – 2014 Edition

Tonight’s post is a rerun and  a favorite Easter story of ours.  We shared it with a new group of friends today; told by Meghan Lee and me together, it was even funnier and our audience seemed to enjoy hearing it almost as much as we enjoyed telling and reliving it with much laughter

Do not be dismayed by the title,  this post will give you hope and encouragement,  I promise :)  As is often mentioned in these pages, I’m a traditionalist;  I believe tradition is the glue that binds us together.  Today I’ll tell a quick story about a mother who used to buy solid chocolate Easter bunnies, the big ones, $16 each, back in the day, the best for her daughters, year after year.  Tradition was that early Easter morning, the mother would hide the colored eggs and then the baskets.  While the girls were hunting for eggs and baskets, the mother was cooking a special breakfast, one for each of her daughters as they had different favorites.

This particular year, the night before Easter as the mother was preparing the baskets, the temptation of those fabulous bunnies overcame her.  Just one little nibble, the mother thought, who’ll notice?  Y’all know how this goes – the edges had to be evened out and smooth so one nibble followed another and all of a sudden one ear was gone – Horror!  What could the mother do?  She had to do the same to the other bunny; it would never work to give one daughter an intact bunny and the other, one with a missing ear.  On with the “evening-up” process.  Now two bunnies without ears, very uneven, more work to do;

Holy cats, what now?  May as well even things up, you know, neaten it up a bit.  One head gone, on to the next – gotta be fair.   Enough already.  So the mother tucked each bunny back into its little bag and tied them shut with the original ribbons, pink and purple.  It’s Saturday night, Easter eve, no replacing these special bunnies.  Early Easter morning, the mother went about her business, then woke the daughters to begin their hunt, while the mother went into the kitchen to begin cooking those special breakfasts, didn’t miss a beat….

All of a sudden – horrified screams!!  The girls had discovered their headless bunnies in their otherwise beautiful baskets.  And they had no doubt as to the culprit.  Good thing they were of the age to know that the Easter Bunny really was the mother.  The thing that I remember most clearly was Meghan Lee’s absolute indignation that there were teeth marks in her bunny – eeeuuuu!! To use FDR’s words spoken years ago, this was a day that ” will live in infamy.”  And it has; brought up every Easter and shared as it was today, with love and much laughter.

I promised encouragement?  You bet.  My friends, regardless what you may be thinking about your shortcomings, faults or misses, remember the mother who ate the heads off the bunnies and laugh!  You haven’t done that yet, have you?  There is HOPE and there is GRACE.  My daughters love me, forgave me and we share another precious memory.

Easter is a special day, not a present-giving holiday, at least not in our home, but without it, we would all be hopeless.  Remember, because of what occurred on that first Easter morning, there is abundant hope and grace for all of us.  I hope you’ve found or find yours in our risen Lord.  My prayer is that all the blessings of Easter – life, forgiveness, grace and joy – live within each and every one of you!  Be blessed…

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THE 4th ANNUAL LIST OF DAN – 2015

The first List of Dan was published in 2012 and numbered 19  items. The list has steadily grown, last year numbering 25. This year on Dan Meyer’s birthday, the 4th annual list has grown to 28 and I’m posting the complete list. Enjoy 🙂

  1.  Who do you call with computer issues regularly, sometimes daily?
  2.  Who do you call when you need someone to care for  pets and home when you’re traveling several times each year?
  3. You need to fix a broken window, who supplies the extra pair of hands?
  4. Who will haul salt for the water softener into the scary basement?
  5. Who will brave the scary basement to change the furnace filter?
  6. Who will help your daughter purchase a new computer long-distance?
  7. Who will help you find the best laptop deal?
  8. Who repairs your GPS and returns it to you wrapped as a birthday gift?
  9. Who saves the day when the GPS dies for good and you hope to retrieve those invaluable saved locations to import to a new device later?
  10. Who locates the new device and successfully handles the import?
  11. Who do you call when you tipped over the lawn tractor, yep, it’s literally laying on its side?
  12. You’ve run out of propane and it is wicked cold. Who drives out to let you sit in his car, seat heaters on high, till a propane delivery arrives and the house warms up?
  13. Who do you call when the sump pump freezes mid-winter?
  14. Who do you call when your snow blower dies?
  15. Who do you call when the rear window on your truck literally falls out of its frame in the winter?
  16. Who do you call when you absolutely backed through the center support post of your garage, destroying post, both doors and completely shattering the truck’s rear window?
  17. Who supplies a newly painted basketball backstop to match his rebuild of your garage support post and both doors?
  18. Who always witnesses your absentee ballot?
  19. Who adjusted and permanently stabilized a tool shed in the yard without being asked?
  20. Who comes to the rescue when a bat appears and a terrified piano student has bolted out the door?
  21. Who taught you the finer points of baiting a mousetrap to spare sensitive fingers?
  22. Who came to the rescue after last winter’ 2013’s fall on the ice resulted in a concussion and brain bleed, getting you to the hospital and handling admission?
  23. Who delivers and installs the water filter annually after your initial attempt resulted in flooding the kitchen?
  24. Who drove out here to accompany you on a frightening walk across the ice to the garage, then ran up to the road and retrieved the mail?
  25. This is really two, but we’ll combine due to similar context. Who figured out a quick fix for a malfunctioning door switch on the truck and then a quick fix for a phone system that seemed to have died?
  26. Who was able to get into the garage when both door openers were locked in the truck inside and the service door (no key) was locked as well?
  27. Who do you call when you are at the sink doing dishes and the water stops running?
  28. Who do you call when you have locked yourself out of the house and just the week prior had brought the outside spare into the house? As you can see, it’s been a busy year for Dan 🙂

All 28 questions have the same answer – my cousin, Dan Meyer.  I am so blessed to have Dan and his wife Susan, so gracious in sharing his time, fully supporting me here.  If you are so fortunate as to have a Dan and Susan in your life, let them know how much you appreciate them!!

Today, March 17, 2015, Happy Birthday Dan Meyer and thank you again and again!!

 

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERIN LEE, 2013

 

Today we celebrate Erin Lee, my elder daughter born 29 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.  And 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 was and always will be my Erin Lee. 

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, a silver lining to difficult days of chronic illness first manifested when she was just five months old.  With a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pepe Le Pew, and a first-rate imitation of Lady (of 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.

  My firstborn child is 29 today.  I am so very proud of the woman she has become and I am a better person for being her Mumma Lee.  Blessings, Erin Lee, and thank you for the joy you’ve brought me over these 29 years.  I’d do it all over in a heartbeat.  Joyeux Anniversaire; je t’aime en pièces  (1) – that’s our long-distance hug.

 

             Quintessential  Erin Lee                                                                         Artistic View

                                                                                                                

 

                                                                                                 

                         

 

                      

                               

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Hhappy Birthday, Meghan Lee, 2013!!

 

It’s time for what is becoming the annual birthday post, updated, of course.  Twenty-eight years ago this evening, I met my younger daughter, Meghan Lee, for the first time.  Weighing in at just six pounds, she showed early signs of being her own person, struggling to be released from the hospital swaddling that her sister, a year earlier, had found so comforting.  Being her mother, one might accuse me of bias, but I am so very proud of the woman she has become. I am blessed to be close to her, not in proximity, but in mind and heart, the places that really count. I  have watched her grow over the years, overcoming challenges and learning to soar like an eagle!!

An early reader determined to keep up with her sister, likely based on something she read in a book, she began calling me “Mother.”  Not mom and not just to my face, but in reference to me as well.  It was very noticeable, coming from this little person, so formal – Mother.  She still does, today, but I’m used to it and no longer feel like Joan Crawford.  That’s Meghan Lee, no nicknames, please.

This past year was one of continued growth in grace and beauty for Meghan Lee, who, in 2011, began a tradition of wearing a tiara on her birthday, even on the bike :) Last year’s birthday post talked about her major life event, marriage to Brian Smith.  This year, they’re closer than ever and have embarked on some fitness challenges.  In April, they completed their very first Tough Mudder event in Austin, Texas.  I had some concerns, especially after looking at the list of Most BadAss Obstacles and reading about the signing of a death waiver.  That said, together they completed the event, which is the point; it’s not a race.  Brian has future aspirations, which is his story to tell, but they’ve continued training.  Meghan Lee has become a runner, logging record miles this year and also is into weight training.  In typical fashion, she did the research and came up with a program that she follows diligently and is making steady progress, which we talk about almost daily.  The purpose now? Another Tough Mudder in a month in Charlotte, NC. Being Mother, I asked if she was certain she was ready to commit to training for a second event in less than a year, more like six months.  Of course she was, or it wouldn’t be happening 🙂    
My younger daughter turns 28 today and I couldn’t be more pleased to claim her though I’m learning to share her with Brian.   She is kind, loving and generally an exceptional human being, grown now, with a blog of her own.    Ride on Tiara Girl

I’m thanking the Lord for putting her in my arms and into my care – a gift to me beyond compare.    Joyeux anniversaire, Meghan Lee, je t’aime èn bric, broc, our French slang for “I love you to pieces.”  Literal translation is I love you to bits and chunks, which makes us giggle.  Enjoy the photos and join me in wishing a most wonderful new year of life to Meghan Lee Smith!

                                                                    Be blessed, my darlin’ daughter!!

Meghan on her last birthday :)

Meghan on her last birthday 🙂

Tiara girl

Tiara girl


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