Sadie turned 16 yesterday. The same Sadie who used to earnestly tell us stories with “uh” inserted between every syllable. The same Sadie who would sit in the rocking chair in our living room and rock violently while listening to Phil Keaggy’s “True Believers” over and over and over and over. The very same Sadie who didn’t take one step before 18 months because she just didn’t want to and now we can’t get her to slow down. Ever. She’s always the first out to the car, the first back in the house, the first to be ready for anything anytime and even the first to go to bed each night. She knows what she wants and she does it with gusto. Lately, she has spent most of her free time (and some of her time that should be spent doing other things) learning how to play all different kinds of instruments and all different kinds of songs. The joy that her music brings to our house is indescribable. Last November, she used money in her savings account that she had been saving since the third grade to buy time at our good friends’ recording studio and record her very own album. I linked to the song that she did with her sisters in an earlier post. Now she would like to try to make a little money back that she spent on the recording studio to try to save up more money for her next album. Below is the link to the song that she sang at her school talent show last year (pictured above). If you would like to buy a copy of her cd, message me. It’s $5 if she can hand it to you in person, $7 if we need to put it in the mail. (However, if you live in another country, the shipping might be a tad more.)
By Louis Untermeyer 1885–1977
Shut out the light or let it filter through
These frowning aisles as penitentially
As though it walked in sackcloth. Let it be
Laid at the feet of all that ever grew
Twisted and false, like this rococo shrine
Where cupids smirk from candy clouds and where
The Lord, with polished nails and perfumed hair,
Performs a parody of the divine.
The candles hiss; the organ-pedals storm;
Writhing and dark, the columns leave the earth
To find a lonelier and darker height.
The church grows dingy while the human swarm
Struggles against the impenitent body’s mirth.
Ashes to ashes. . . . Go. . . . Shut out the light.
And so the light runs laughing from the town,
Pulling the sun with him along the roads
That shed their muddy rivers as he goads
Each blade of grass the ice had flattened down.
At every empty bush he stops to fling
Handfuls of birds with green and yellow throats;
While even the hens, uncertain of their notes,
Stir rusty vowels in attempts to sing.
He daubs the chestnut-tips with sudden reds
And throws an olive blush on naked hills
That hoped, somehow, to keep themselves in white.
Who calls for sackcloth now? He leaps and spreads
A carnival of color, gladly spills
His blood: the resurrection—and the light.
Around 3am, the thunder started, which was right after we all had fallen asleep. We might have slept through it except that this guy doesn’t like thunder AT ALL and likes to let us all know about it. All night long. Until we banished him to the garage to conquer his fears on his own with all the power tools.
After presents were opened and everyone was dressed, we met up with our dear friends at a fun restaurant. My goddaughter has been very sick this last month and it was such a joy to spend time with her again after being in the ICU for far too long at Children’s Hospital.
But I think the highlight of the whole week was looking over the shoulder of this man in that restaurant and seeing white stuff coming down out the window in the background. And telling him about it. And watching him immediately leave the table and run outside to experience it and come back in with white in his hair and wet spots on his shirt and tears in his eyes. Yes, the snow on Christmas made him cry. Which made us all cry.
All in all, it was a lovely and peaceful Christmas. Our only sadness was that Chris’ parents got caught up in the travel nightmare happening all over the country due to the many snowstorms. They made it to San Francisco and then had to go back to Oregon. We really wanted them in Dallas and they really wanted to be here, but it just wasn’t meant to be, apparently. So now we have Callie’s graduation in May to look forward to seeing them. There should be no snowstorms then.
And now, a poem about snow, that sums me up pretty well:
By Frederick Seidel
Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.
This girl right here is eighteen today:
This girl. This same girl that was two once:
This girl that loves and dreams and waves her hands in the air when she’s excited. This girl who can’t look in the camera when the sun’s in her eyes.
This girl that is worried about maybe having a problem because she is THAT excited about Les Miserables coming out in a movie this Christmas. She hasn’t even seen it yet and she loves it THAT much.
This girl loves her friends and her family and her church deeply. This girl’s heart is too big for my arms to hold anymore. She is going, going, gone and I am so blessed to have her always. My daughter.
I love that girl. And I love her sisters too.
And while we’re at it, I love these girls who recorded some songs at Noisevault Studio last week:
Click the link below to hear the song the three of them did together – their own rendition of an Alison Krauss song. Callie comes in first, then Sadie joins her, then Grace (the new tenor of the family) comes in on the low part.
I am a wealthy woman and well I know it. Thank you, Lord, for these precious girls you have given us.
When I learned that I was going to be a mother for the first time, I remember being aware of the fact that I would be 40 when that child turned 18. I just didn’t think it would go so fast. I just didn’t think we’d go from 0 to 18 to 40 in only 25 seconds. It leaves me reeling.
Today is my 40th birthday, and in true (to myself) birthday form, I have cried a lot. And no, not really a good cry either. For some reason, all the sadnesses of life have overwhelmed me on this day every year, for as long as I can remember. I think even before I can remember, actually. I am pretty sure that I comtemplated all that I had already lost on my 3rd birthday. That is why it is hard to be me.
I like getting older, but I don’t like people acting like it’s a private shame to talk about this age that I am. I am not ashamed to be 40. I’d rather be 40 than 22 or 25 or 39. It’s what I am and I want to be it and I don’t want anyone insulting me by insinuating that I shouldn’t want to be what I am. But they do. The world insinuates and the world comes right out and says it and I am left wondering what’s wrong with everyone for not wanting to be what they are. I’ve always been more on the aggressive side of passive, but passive none-the-less.
Tonight at dinner, one daughter talked about how she just doesn’t worry about stuff. She just takes life as it comes and lets it happen. And her face looked just like the flower child she is at heart with her peaceful little smile and slightly unfocused eyes and the unspoken words in her brain that we could visibly see on her face were “Peace, Love and Grooviness, man.” And her dad told her that right then, she was his favorite. And another daughter threw her hands up in the air at that and said “WOW” and looked around in disbelief and repeated herself: “WOW.” She’s more on the aggressive side of passive too. And the other daughter ignored all of them and wondered how many times I’ve come in her room after she’s fallen asleep and smoothed her hair and kissed her face and said “I love you” while she slept. Someday she’ll know. Someday she’ll know this aching joyful sadness that it is to be a mom. She’ll know that each sleep and each smooth of the hair and each “I love you” will only take her farther down a road that she can never come back from.
(When you’re 40, you can end sentences with prepositions if you want to.)
This week I read through all my birthday posts from time immemorial, which was six years ago. It made me feel a little better to remember that I’m always sad on my birthday. On second thought, it didn’t really make me feel better at all. But I do like patterns. I figure if there’s a pattern, there’s something to be excited about. So there you have it. If you want to read about fleetingness and pain and floating and grief, and you want to watch the pattern repeat itself over and over and over, then here you go.
Happy birthday to me. And to you, whenever yours may be. May all your roads be ever flowing onward through beautiful woods, sandy dunes where you lose your footing, rocky canyons, green meadows and snow-capped mountains ~ with occasional rests beside still waters.
And may some of those forest-framed roads be journeyed by fast rides on four-wheelers.
A few weeks ago, we went to Oregon, where magic lives. Blue waters, cold winds, green trees, smoky fires, white clouds, adventurous people, happy cows, dogs and chickens all live there too. It had been ten years since we’d been back with our family and it was true refreshment for the soul.
And now we’re back.
I think this is the first time in all my years of parenting in Dallas, TX that I HAVEN’T been ready for summer to end. I wish we could hang on to it for just a bit longer. There were just so many summer dreams left undone and I don’t feel ready for this school year. Not at all. But here it is, ready or not.
I remember when I didn’t feel ready for this one to start kindergarten and here she is, starting her final year of high school. All her hopes and dreams show all over her face and I delight in her. I delight in her sweet spirit, her love of beauty, her devotion to working hard in all things, her precious past that I like to visit from time to time and her future that I look forward to with a somewhat anxious joy.
I remember when this one wouldn’t let go of my neck in the swimming pool. She could cling with the best of them. I didn’t even have to hold on to her because there was no way she was letting go of me. And now I feel like I’m the one desperately holding on while she swims and runs and drives and dances away from me. I love the deep waters that she floats on. I love the beauty that she makes in her music and the silliness that comes out at the strangest of times. She is making a big change in schools for her tenth grade year and I look forward to all the goodness that will come out of it and into her.
And I remember when this one used to ride around Dallas with me while her older sisters went to school. She was mommy’s little helper and what a trooper she was too, never getting the simple routine that her sisters enjoyed in their years of staying at home. We went here, there and everywhere all day while she was happy to be with me and I with her. And now she is starting the seventh grade and is still a trooper. Always up for whatever, always on top of everyone’s schedule, always up for making her sisters laugh at her. She plays hard, tries hard, gives hard and loves soft.
O LORD, Jesus Christ, who dost embrace children with the arms of thy mercy, and dost make them living members of thy Church; Give them grace, we pray thee, to stand fast in thy faith, to obey thy word, and to abide in thy love; that being made strong by thy Holy Spirit they may resist temptation and overcome evil; and may rejoice in the life that now is, and dwell with thee in the life that is to come; through thy merits, O merciful Saviour, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost livest and reignest one God, world without end. Amen.
The other evening, the temperature dropped from a hundred and something to seventy something in fifteen minutes while the sky grew dark and the wind blew hard. Of course, we had to go out and be a part of that. The coolness, the darkness, the wind – it was where the love was. It felt so good. We laughed while the wind whipped our hair around. Some of us chased each other up and down the sidewalk and had a spitting war. One of us went inside to show the rest of us what she found slipped under her bedroom door earlier that day.
It was glorious.
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
The storms are raging on the rolling sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love
*Lyrics by Bob Dylan