HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEGHAN LEE !!

 

It’s time for what is becoming the annual birthday post.  Twenty-seven 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 prejudice, but I am so very proud of the young 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, who, last year, began a tradition of wearing a tiara on her birthday, even on the bike 🙂 The year also brought a major life event.  On March 24th, Meghan became a wife, marrying Brian Smith, a perfect match for her, in a unique two-state wedding that began in Oklahoma and ended with the completion of the ceremony by Meghan’s Grandpa Buelow in Green Bay. An additional event that was very exciting for Meghan was the purchase of a new bike, an upgrade to a bigger and better motorcycle that she really enjoys and a passion shared with Brian, who has become a biker dude 🙂 since meeting Meghan Lee.  They were able to take several fun bike trips over the summer.

My younger daughter turns 27 today and I couldn’t be more pleased to claim her though I’m learning to share her with Brian and we jokingly refer to “our Meghan” or “our girl” instead of the former “my”.  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’adore!!

               Meghan Lee & new bike                                            Meghan Lee & Brian Smith

                                                                                                3.24.12

                


 

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The World Just Keeps on Turning…

With 30 minutes to official sunrise, I’ve been watching the moon make its journey across the sky for hours.  Wide awake since 3a.m., with bright moonlight streaming through the window, I’m thinking of two people in these early morning hours. Last night brought word that my favorite Auntie Arlene, spoken of often in these pages, is spending the night in the local hospital.  She’s 93 and I’m wondering what she’s thinking about and how she’s feeling in these predawn hours; it’s too early to call and the world just keeps on turning…

I’ve mentally run through my to-do list, with wedding prep and school prep on deck for the day. My excitement is building at the prospect of a joyful gathering in just ten days to celebrate with Meghan and Brian and the added bonus of having Erin Lee home – the three of us together – this mother’s heart is full. 

Forty miles away, another mother is waking up, if she slept at all, on what would normally be a day of celebrating her daughter’s birthday.  The world just keeps on turning, even though her daughter passed away last June at age 29 and this is the first birthday without her.  

Watching the moon move past my window, I’m reminded that the moon wasn’t moving at all and that what appears to be happening is not real.   There are  laws of nature at work here and as King Solomon said long ago, there is a time for everything, time to weep or laugh and dance or mourn.  The world just keeps on turning and what does that mean for us?  Y’all have heard this before, but I believe we can never hear it too often.  Cherish the special moments, create them, and hold those you love close to heart; let them know regularly and repeatedly that they are special to you. 

I had dinner with Auntie Arlene Friday night – we shared a great fish fry and for the first time in her 93 years, she experienced  the world of the Internet.  Through the marvel of technology, I was able to take her online and we went shopping!!  We laughed, she was amazed and I was so happy to share that time with her

The sun is up and it’s time for me to move away from this desk; I’ve already emailed my friend, acknowledging her daughter’s birthday and her loss.  I’ll call the hospital shortly, get the trash up to the road and leave here in an hour to attend a Lent service nearby and hopefully share a smile with two nieces and a nephew.  Then it’s back to work and a walk with the dogs later in what’s supposed to be a beautiful 74-degree day here,

Love and be loved and find  comfort and hope  in knowing that the world just keeps on turning because a loving Heavenly Father has everything under control!!

Blessings…

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Another Special Day

     What a blessed woman I am – two special days in one week.  Today we celebrate my firstborn child, Erin Lee, born 27 years ago tonight, just just shy of midnight, changing my world forever.   I knew she was going to be Erin Lee, no ultrasound needed or taken; it wasn’t that common then.  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 first Christmas dress – red velveteen and white satin –  he just shook his head.  And then she was born, four days overdue, in typical fashion, making a dramatic entrance in her own time – Erin Lee –  I just knew. 

     She was tiny, five pounds, thirteen ounces, and it truly was love at first sight.  I asked for her bassinette to be left in my room, not all that common then, but I couldn’t imagine them just whisking her off to a nursery.  I wanted to get to know this little miracle and that we did – gently dancing around the hospital room to the taped music I had brought along, forging an unbreakable bond.

     What I couldn’t possibly have known was the depth of motherly love that would overtake me instantly and continue to grow. We were talking about that just last week in a fun conversation about her impending birthday and nearing the age of 30, close to my age at her birth.  As I’ve had occasion to tell her over the years, 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, a force of nature.  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 and I wear several pieces of her jewelry.

  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 the difficult days of chronic illness first manifested at five months.  With a gift for languages hearkening back to her early days of imitating Pepe Le Pew, the French-speaking cartoon character and a first-rate imitation of Lady, star 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 she was special and that is for certain.   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; I’m smiling as I reminisce in these early-morning hours  

  My firstborn child is 27 today.  I am so very proud of the woman she has become and I am a better person for being her MummaLee.  Blessings, Erin Lee and thank you for the joy and sheer pleasure you’ve brought me over these 27 years.  I’d do it all over in a heartbeat.                                                                 

Erin Lee today          

 

 

Erin Lee by Erin Lee

       Joyeux Anniversaire,

                     Erin Lee

                     J’adore!!!

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Another birthday!! Bless you, ErinLee!!

My ErinLee, elder daughter by 363 days turned 26 today!  I texted her at 12:05 a.m., PDT, her time, which, and yes, I was up, was 2:05 a.m., here in Wisconsin.  I was working and reminiscing about the birth of my first child, 26 years ago.  She was so tiny, just 5lb, 13 oz, at birth and  5 lb, 8 oz, when we left the hospital. It was absolutely love beyond compare.  Who knew?  Y’all who are mothers reading this would know, but I was rocked by the depth of emotion.

I knew she was going to be Erin Lee – she changed the spelling and I like it, but I knew way before she was born.  In fact, I embroidered her name in gold floss on the Christmas stocking I started in the summer.  I also sewed her first Christmas dress, red velvet and white satin, again, before she was born and those were the days before we had whatever the test is that tells the baby’s sex, unless you had a difficult pregnancy, which I did not.  My doctor kept telling me there was a 50/50 chance and you should have seen his face when I showed him her Christmas stocking.  I knew.

She’s a joy, talented, funny, beautiful and I’ve always been amazed at how she sees the world, through artist’s eyes, so unlike myself.  I began this post hours ago, thinking about my child,  took a break for  a special lunch with my 11 yr-old niece, Reno; we called ErinLee.  Then ErinLee called me and we had a wonderful hour-long visit; now I’m back to choosing some photos to insert here along with the birthday song.  So my darlin’ daughter, and yes, she does speak French, réalisez vos rêves.

Quintessential ErinLee playing in the leaves!

ErinLee and MummaLee at Bagley Rapids 10.09

City Kid ErinLee at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago '09

Joyeux anniversaire!!!         Je t’aime, votre, maman!

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Bunnies With No Heads???

Do not be dismayed, this post will give you hope and encouragement,  I promise 🙂 As 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 the best solid chocolate Easter bunnies for her girls, 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.  Before the mother knew it, the ears were gone – all four of them.

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.  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 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.

The thing that I remember most clearly was Meghan’s absolute indignation that there were teeth marks in her bunny – eeeuuuu!!

I’m off tomorrow for a week in Kentucky with a beloved brother and his family.  I’ve got about 30 hours to finish my travel prep so it’s time to close.

Remember, there’s abundant hope and grace for all of us.  I hope you’ve found yours in our risen Lord.  Easter blessings!!!


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TA DA …

My last post of 2009 from my home.  In 12 hours I’ll be arriving in Green Bay to catch a bit of sleep before flying out  at 6:30 a.m.  And in 28 hours I will be hugging my beloved Meghan and seeing her new home for the first time.  Am I excited?  You have no idea!!!  As my cousin Jane reminded me, this will give me the energy I need to get everything done.

So what’s the TA DA for?  I have completed another term in school.  I have done battle with algebra and am still standing.  More logical than ever?  I’m too tired to say right now, but I’ve done it, it’s history.  Will I dance around my kitchen as mentioned in a post back in August?  Very likely as I’ve got to keep moving through this day, checking off the list.    Sounds like time for a song, one that contains two of my all-time favorite song lines – check it out and sing with me.

Quickly, what are the two lines?   “Just remember this my girl, if you look up in the sky you can  see the stars and still not see the light.”  Amen to that.  The other is, “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key.”   It’s time for me to get on my feet.

Blessings to you all in these last pre-Christmas days.  And while I’m anxiously awaiting the gift of time with my Meghan, I’m mindful of the reason behind this celebration – the best Gift ever.  Hope you have it in your life.

Merry Christmas, 2009.  Cherish your friends and family; reach out to those in need.  Coming to you next from the warmth of  South Carolina …

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I’m so cold you should put on a sweater

Memories…  My girls and I have been talking about memories, fun things, funny sayings.  The title of this post is an example of a line that makes us smile.  I’m known for always being cold, well before any surgeries or health challenges – I’m just cold-blooded.  The girls would say with eyes rolling, “Mom’s cold, we have to put on a sweater.”  That’s a favorite.

The other day I saw a saying about dancing in the rain.  Reminded me of my girls.  In a text to  ErinLee, I shared the line and reminisced about how she loved to play in the rain.  She reminded me of the time she went  into the backyard to play in the rain in her underwear and accidentally locked herself out.  Big smile at that memory 🙂

There are so many.  Last year at this time I was posting a Countdown, counting down the days until I was in warmer climes with my Meghan for Christmas.   This year I haven’t been counting down until today, when Meghan reminded me that it’s only five days till we’re together.  Five crazy busy days during which I’ll clean my house – another whole set of memories from my own childhood, carried  into my children’s  lives and  into the present day.  Thanks, Mom –  a story in itself.  I will take two final exams, and as promised back in August, finish the dreaded algebra.  Not to mention laundry, packing, paperwork, banking,  a Merry Christmas hug for my favorite Auntie Arlene before I go, so many things to finish.

It won’t be long now.  Temperature here in the North Woods is heading toward a wind chill of 20 below tonight. So as I get back to the business of finishing a semester and  preparing to be away for a couple weeks, I’m telling you, I’m so cold, y’all get those sweaters on, you hear?

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Catch-Up?

Playing catch-up? Very often these days, I seem to be in catch-up mode; tonight is no exception.  With algebra going fairly well, but still time-consuming, and daily life with all that entails, things are good though the pace is frenetic. What keeps me grounded?  My faith, for sure, and the things I’m looking forward to – elder daughter will be with me in a month; I cannot wait to hug that child, though at almost 25, young woman is more appropriate.  Her sister, almost 24, is in the midst of a fairly large life event -buying a  first home; lots of excited phone calls back and forth.

With  these young women on opposite coasts and us all trying to stay involved in one another’s  lives, the time between hugs seems far too long.  My solace is that I must have done something right along the way to have two beautiful, intelligent, articulate, independent, successful young women who still count their mom as confidante and advisor.  I am so blessed and in no time at all I’ll be hugging my ErinLee and enjoying her laughter, and two months after that I’ll be hugging my Meghan Lee and hopefully visiting in her new home.  Great thoughts to keep me moving forward.

A fabulous Amma massage today certainly helped me relax and my return to a regular yoga class to readjust my form and move back toward the top of my game – all great things on the road to taking the best care of me so I can take the best care of all with which I’ve been entrusted. Be well and live on the upside of life, no matter how things appear.   Off to algebra for me.  À bientôt…

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Smiling at this Lenten Memory

Who knew when deciding to embark on the next 30 days to leaving the Shoulds and an Illegitimate Ruler behind that it would coincide beautifully with Lent?  Well, Someone knew and ya gotta love how these things work out 🙂  So my Lenten journey it will be.

I’ve never been one to “give something up for Lent.”  Why?  Because I was raised in a traditional Protestant denomination and we didn’t do that.  As an adult I did, however, observe Lent in some way.  The one that sticks out  in my mind ALWAYS was the year I decided to switch to a Lent focus for our breakfast devotional time, more than a decade ago.

Those were still the days of getting children out the door to school each morning.  They were growing up, though, not little girls any more – both freshman that year (longer story) – two different schools, different start times, one requiring me to drive  12+ miles one way.   But we continued breakfast together every day – cereal, oatmeal, french toast, whatever, served on the breakfast counter with juice and supplements and a quick devotional to send us all out the out the door wrapped in peace and love against a cruel world.

The year in question I chose to switch to a Lent focus by reading portions of one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado.  Max has great books for everything but my favorites for Lent are  Six Hours One Friday, No Wonder They Call Him Savior, He Still Moves Stones, Applause of Heaven.  My thought was to use a small portion of one of the books each morning, but that was not so well received.  One of my daughters began to protest about the extra time it would take, and we all know time in the morning can be at a premium.    One thing led to another and in short order our morning sharing time was not so pretty.  I was hanging on to my right as the mother to insist.  My daughter was hanging on to her position as a young teenage girl.  So sparks began to fly, with the other daughter caught in the crossfire.  So much for sending my children out into the cruel world wrapped in peace and love each morning.

My good friend, Marlee, veteran Bible study partner and (at that time) mom of teenage daughters a few years ahead of mine, was a great resource.  So I went to her with my dilemma and lo and behold, the advice was not what I was anticipating.  She was supposed to tell me that I was absolutely right in my right to insist and that I should stand firm.  Didn’t happen.  What I got was the advice that perhaps the time had come to release my daughter’s relationship with the Lord to my daughter and the Lord.  What??  I’m her mother!!  It’s not time yet and I’ll decide!!  Think maybe I had challenges with the “Shoulds” way back then 🙂

I had to do something and gave sincere thought to Marlee’s suggestion, took it in prayer, and went to separate breakfast times and back to the original plan of a brief teen-centric devotion and less strain in the morning.  I don’t remember how long we continued the routine of devotion in the morning, but I believe through most of high school.  One of those rites of passage, but a treasured memory in this mother’s heart.  AND I just took a moment from writing this post and called Marlee.  We had a brief conversation, chuckled together at the memories and made arrangements to get together soon.  And Lent 2009 begins in a few days….

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Countdown 9 Days, part two

So the last time we were together, the three of us, was eight months ago – EIGHT MONTHS!  There was a time that I didn’t go eight HOURS without hugging them and now it’s eight months and will be more since we shared a group – all three of us – hug.   I do not allow myself to dwell on that because I don’t believe in wallowing in the “depths of despair,” those emotional danger zones that really are not productive or good for one’s emotional health.  I have a photo on my computer desktop -one without me in it, just the girls – so I see those faces all day long and it warms my heart.  We speak on the phone often, sometimes daily and we e-mail back and forth.  We’ve moved onto a new level of relationship, one with me as a mother of adult children.  Though referred to by friends and family as “the girls” they are girls by gender, but at 23 and 24, most definitely young women.  And I am so proud of the young women they’ve become.

Sometimes they need advice – just this week, “Talk to me, mother, while I pick out a vacuum cleaner.  Which one do you think I should get?”  A new experience for me – shopping via cell phones a thousand miles apart.  Then a crate for the new dog, “he’s about up to my knee, maybe as long as ….”  That was definitely a new experience.  Can’t wait to meet the new dog and see how he fits in the crate – nine days to go 🙂

Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is a time for everything, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.  In the five years since coming to the Homestead, I’ve wept, laughed, mourned and danced.  Now, I believe, I’m coming into my time – my time on the Lord’s timeline  – not day-in-day-out mom responsible for a household, family, etc., but time to give back, time to share, time to mentor, time to utilize the gifts with which I’ve been blessed.  And I would say it is my time to dance.  Adieu….

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