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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to my Daughter

She is 36 today, September 27. She is the baby. I think she has clothes on in this picture.
The picture above was taken on a cold, drizzly March day. We went to a Craft Show here in town just before Easter. She was dressed in warm shoes, socks, jeans, and a shirt and sweater. When I saw this cute picture-taking event, I remembered the new outfit I had just bought her, one of her few ever bought pieces of clothing. I went out in the rain, got the bag, and changed her for the photo. All the other kids were placed beside the giant bunny and the photo was snapped. It was a one-shot deal. I said, "Alana, hug the bunny." She did as she was told and this was the precious photo. You know what I love the best?....her precious, curled little toes. Ah, and the slight smile is so cute to me. Other mothers were wishing they had changed their children's clothes.

Alana looks like me in many ways. Okay, I am not a blonde, don't have her voluptuous lips or the Donny and Marie teeth.

She was a week overdue, despite what my doctor said! And, I had a 30 hour labor with her, despite my first having arrived in four hours and the second in two hours. I thought she might just slip right out.

AND, she came breach. If a baby manual ever said anything about what most children do and then what a child occassionaly did, she was the exception. She was also entirely different from the older two. She sucked her thumb, rarely cried and just went with the flow.

She really did not need toys to play. People said she was odd because she just looked closely at tree trunks, examining them on all sides. She took a stick and just poked around in the dirt and grass. I found a shoebox under her bed when she was less than three. She had roly polys, dirt, grass, sticks, and a lid from a kitchen drawer for water. She would just get a bug of any kind and just carry it around.

She did have a ton of toys, mostly from two older siblings. Her bedroom was the formal dining room, right next to the kitchen and den, where I sat just feet from her bedroom.  When I missed a utensil in the kitchen, I only had to go to her bedroom and look in her little Hoosier-style cabinet made for me by my father. Yes, there it was. I asked her the first time why she took the utensil. She said, matter-of-factly, "Because I didn't have one." sign sigh sigh. Who can argue with logic? 

One day, she was playing outdoors when she was almost four. I watched her from the kitchen window. I knew she was trying to climb a 50-yr-old dogwood tree and could see she succeeded. I was washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen and could see and hear her about 40 feet in front of the window. She sang and sang and sang. My mother's heart was glad and bursting with joy because of her joy.

Finally, I noticed as she became louder by the minute that she did not sound happy. I opened the window and could hear her singing, "Come get me. I can't get down. I am stuck in the tree." Horror of horrors, I yelled I was coming and ran right out. She was so upset. I took her out of the tree and she was angry and hurt that I did not come out since she could see my face. I could not see her face through the leaves and at that distance. My mother's heart was so sad because she felt abandoned.

When she was about two or three, I heard our dog yelp. He always stayed right with her, so if he yelped, I wondered what was happening to her. As I went toward the front door to see what happened, she walked in with lots of fur around her mouth. She had bitten the dog. I have forgotten why she said she did it, but I have never had a child bite the dog.

The Terrible Twos was not something that happened with her. I marveled. When she was twenty months, she started tap and ballet. I was the secretary for the dance studio, working for lessons for the older daughter. The dance teacher wanted Alana to attend so she could see what a baby in diapers could learn. Within weeks she could count to eight and knew all the French terms for ballet. Apparently, she learned faster and minded better than the older girls. But, then she became a teenager.

She learned to swim in the baby pool while we waited out swim team practices, playing a game I invented--Swim Team. I said, "On your mark, get set, go" just like the real thing. I did not have a starter gun, so "go" sufficed. Then, I told her, "Stroke," "kick," "get your face in the water." Other children joined in. They all flopped in the foot of water and some learned to swim. One day, she was almost four, playing in  motel pool, and did not realize how close the deep end was. As she slipped under, screaming, and coming up, I yelled the same instructions and she swam to the side. It seems a bunch of nurses were going in to save her. She saved herself. Yes, I would have jumped in if she had not immediately started swimming. At five, she turned her head, breathed, stroked, kicked and I pulled her out. When we returned home, she started jumping from the high dive and swimming to the side, over and over. Several lifeguards took to the pool when they saw her the first time.

Oh, she wanted to learn to sew at 13 when I bought her a sewing machine of her own. When she was 17, she applied for the manager position at Olan Mills. She got the job and really ticked off the guy who was 21 and had worked there for a year....go girl. In college she worked as a clown for children's birthday parties and loved it. I think we laughed at her antics too much when she was a child.

There are baby pictures on a CD, somewhere. There are plenty sitting around here, but not scanned.
FOUND and posted.
I won't go

Oh, she is now a first-grade teacher and loves the job.

Your turn
Isn't it funny the things one finds memorable about each child and can see, looking back, how the baby personality stays the same?  


  1. what a beautiful post - i have tears in my eyes while at the same time laughing about biting the dog!!! so i am basically laughing and crying at the same time! and hubby can't understand what i am trying to say!

    but what wonderful memories - and what a beautiful girl! she reminds me of my sister robin - robin had the same beautiful lips!

    anyway - i hope that she gets as good a laugh out of this as i did.

    and i hope that she appreciates the warmth in all of your memories - it is very clear how much you love her. but how could you not? she sounds fantastic and fun! how lucky you are!

    as for me, i do not have any children yet. we are trying. i am 40 and we have decided that if i am not pregnant by 45 - we're going the extreme route. we'll steal children off the street!

    all joking aside - we plan to foster and start getting into the adoption procedure. i love children and there are many who need mothers as good as you. i can only hope to live up to your example - that is one beautiful girl you raised!

    happy birthday Alana! go and have an awesome day! 36 was a fantastic year for me and i hope the same for you!

  2. Happy Birthday to Alana:)
    Great post Mom! Wow she sounds like a very unique person. I hope that her older years are as special as here baby years.

  3. kymber,
    Thanks for all the warm thoughts. I do hope you succeed in becoming a mother since you have a mother's heart.

    She was unique amongst my children and often her peers. Thanks! I tried not to go on forever about my baby.

  4. She's stunning and has a lovely friendly face.

    Happy Birthday to Alana.

  5. Thank you. None of her face ever seemed to go together, but it gave her an exotic look. She is a sweetie pie.


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