If either of us had died before today, I would not have been able to celebrate this day, the day of my beautiful daughter’s birth. June 26, 1969. I was 23. Tom was on active duty in the National Guard. Water broke. My mother in law took me to Wilson Memorial for what would be a long, hard labor. Spoiler Alert: She was worth it.
When Lisa was born, the Viet Nam War was on. There was an international race to the moon happening. The Civil Rights Movement was moving into high gear. Women’s Liberation was a rising movement. Woodstock and Hippies; big time rock and roll. It was a dynamic, confusing, yet exciting time. This was the world into which Lisa was born.
Lisa almost came out talking. She was engaged and interested in the world from the beginning. She was the prettiest baby in the nursery, perfectly shaped head, beautiful nose and eyes. Bald…mostly, which lasted almost three years. Good thing she had a pretty head.
Her nursery was pale yellow with white trim. We had bought a used crib and rocking chair. Her little dresser was one my family had, painted white with little blue drawer pulls. The curtains I made had little ducks across the hem. Blue throw rugs and a changing table finished the room.
I had never held a newborn baby before. Had only babysat once. It has always been amazing to me that a very well credentialed hospital would send a perfectly good baby home with somebody like me. Fortunately for Lisa, her daddy had done a lot of babysitting. She lucked out there. Even with months of colic, our little family thrived.
We never talked baby talk to Lisa. And she never talked baby talk back. Even as a toddler, she would arrange her dolls in chairs around her little yellow nursery and teach or preach. When she would coax the dolls into singing she would shout, “Now we sing the Shirt Song. Hit it!” She always new lyrics, wrote lyrics, sang with gusto.
Lisa was the best big sister in the world. She was a trustworthy caregiver. She would pick her baby brother up and lay him across an open magazine because she thought he looked bored. All through school, she took care of her brother. Only in the past few years, usually around Thanksgiving, have we heard some of the stories of their high school antics. Statute of Limitations had run out, so telling the stories was OK.
To have a daughter is a blessing. Daughters keep us on our toes. Daughters have magic powers to wrap their daddies around their fingers. Daughters to aging mothers are a growing blessing. I have watched Lisa grow into a wonderful human being who cares about others, her neighbors, her community, her family. She is gifted as a cook, a writer, an artist, a friend, and she can still sing the lyrics of most any tune you name.
On this, her 50th birthday, I give deep thanks to God for letting me be her mama and for giving me years to watch her grow into the person she is today. And I give thanks that she has lived to this her Fifth Decade, which I expect she will know to be her best decade. She is a blessing in the world. Happy Birthday, Lisa. I love you.