Happy B-day Liz or Thirty-Three

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Today my oldest daughter turned thirty-three years old……Thirty-Three! You know what that makes me? Old! I was there when she was nothing. It seemed like a good idea some nine months and three weeks earlier. That’s right she made us wait an extra three weeks. In that time we got so many phone calls from relatives and acquaintances asking what we had. All I could say was a cranky wife who looked like she was smuggling a beach ball. The suspension on my car needed some repairs. The mechanic accused me of hitting some railroad tracks a little hard…..It’s possible (desperate times).

Somehow it all seemed worth it when, after thirty-three plus hours of labor, and a C-section, the nurse rolled by with a cart containing the little long limbed, dark skinned, baby girl with black hair, we had named Elizabeth. At that time, I had been up over fifty hours straight (including around 25-30 of Lamaze). I checked to make sure Crystal was still alive and swerved my car somehow safely home. Her parents were there soon to take me out to dinner (at least I think it was dinner) or maybe breakfast.

Fast Forward

I will never get the image out of my head. After a hard day at work, I stealthy approached our condo door, and quietly opened it with my key. I would generally make it about two steps into the living room before my two year old daughter would come running with coat in hand, and shouted out two of her ten word vocabulary,” Daddy, Out!”

Crystal would look at me from a distance and shrug her shoulders; and I would turn around and head back out. Of course, I had anticipated the event. On the way home, I had already hatched a plan. Would it be shopping, the gym, or the park? It didn’t matter. I knew it wouldn’t be a fight. Elizabeth had me wrapped around her finger. Besides, I did enjoy her company. She had a smile that lit up my world.

As she got older, she had so many questions. She came out of the womb wanting to know everything there was to know. For a long time, I had her fooled. She thought I knew everything. What I didn’t know, surely, her mom knew.

As her sisters came along, naturally Elizabeth was in charge. She would even instruct the baby sitters; after all she knew all of the schedules and all of the rules. At times, I felt sorry for Michelle. She was always the student when they played school and the customer when they played store. Lisa, born five years after Michelle, was always the little sister. She grew up watching and learning from her older sisters.

Fast Forward

Liz’s teen years were rough. Somewhere along the road, Daddy magic failed. She found that sometimes bad things happen for no good reason. Kids can be mean and unfair. Mommies and daddies don’t have all of the answers. Doctors and teachers don’t have all of the answers either. She had an operation when she was about twelve and couldn’t hold down solid food consistently for about six months.

Fast Forward

When her teen years were over, along with her early twenties, she made one final revelation. Maybe, just maybe, she didn’t have all of the answers either. Therein lies the beginning of true wisdom. Somehow, Crystal and I have come full circle. We, at one time, were all knowing. Then, we became always wrong. Now, we are back to at least knowing some things. The other day, Liz told me she didn’t know how I did it. She had just given her first driving lesson to my grandson and almost had a meltdown. I agreed to help. That’s what dads/granddads do.

I have to admit to at least a small amount of mirth, as I watch our now adult children learn all those lessons, which can’t be taught. As Liz now understands thoroughly, good parenting is a matter of prayer, consistence, persistence, and a little smoke and mirrors (or luck).

By the way, I have named a good number of my gray hairs after Liz. Happy Birthday Liz!

 

Crystal’s Corner

One of the privileges of being a parent is celebrating your children’s birthdays.  Our daughter, Liz, is turning 33 years old today.  She is a wonderful mother and wife as well as an excellent RN.  She is also funny, warm, kind, and affectionate.  She has a big heart and an open hand to almost all that she encounters.  I have weird conversations on the phone with her interrupted by her children or the person handing her iced tea at the drive through.  We usually talk about what is going on as well as planning our get togethers.

Her life right now, with a houseful of kids, housework to do, errands to run, meals to make, etc., reminds me of my life.  I fortunately, did not work very much while I was home with the children.  She has to deal with work and all that it entails as well.  She is also going to school to get her B.A.  I don’t know how she keeps her sanity let alone has a chance to take a shower now and then.  We do try to help when we can and we encourage her and give her advice.

Sometimes, I miss the days we had together when she was growing up.  She was our first one and it was just the two of us at home all day for awhile.  Liz has always been a Daddy’s girl from the moment Ron lifted her up in the air in the hospital. She was also my girl who wanted to do everything I was doing.  When I was feeding Michelle she would hold her baby doll and feed her with a doll bottle.  She would put all of her dolls in the living room on the floor for their naps. Each one had a blanket and a book over their faces.  She didn’t want them to get bored.  When she was three years old and having temper tantrums, I figured out that if I put her baby doll on a high shelf, she would stop.  After that I would just have to look at her baby doll when she was naughty, and she would behave.

We are really proud of all of our daughters.  They have all become wonderful caring young women, who work hard and are thoughtful to us.  You think you will forget those early years, but I still remember holding her as a baby, holding her hand as a toddler and dancing with her as preschooler.  She kept changing and growing and amazing us. She still does today.

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

Liz and Dad on swing 0012007_090807July0020

Ohhh how they grow!!!!!

 

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