Long ago and far away on a cold winter's evening, an anxious ten year old walked the floor, waiting to hear the news of a new arrival. Kaye was expecting the end of January, so this day had been a long time in coming. Finally, the phone call came announcing a new baby girl, my first niece, seven pounds and thirteen ounces if I remember correctly, though I may not-it's been forty years.
I remember the first time I held her and how precious and delightful, looking for the world like a little China doll. I was instantly smitten and loved her dearly. For most of this journey, I've continued to find her precious and delightful and still love her dearly.
Kaye was 11 when I was born, and was very much a mother to me. I had always spent a great deal of time with her and Pete, and continued to do so. Kaye and I are about as different as two people can be. We laugh and say Kaye chased her kids with a wash rag. Her house was always neat as a pin. Nary a hair out of place on her wee cherubs. I spent a lot of time with them through their childhood and then, when baby girl was about ten, I got married. She loved Handy Man Pappy and would visit us often and spend the night. We liked to spoil her. She slept between us and everytime she came over, I fixed her a coke and homemade fries.
One of my favorite memories was taking her with me to my Papaw's in Corbin when she was maybe 6 or 7. I gave her a break from being tidy. She didn't comb her hair, or brush her teeth until it was time to go home. Umm, yes, it was more than a day- or two.
I made her prom flowers and took all of her pictures through the teenage years. She always knew to me she was the beauty queen.
I was estatic when she hooked up with a fine fellow to spend her life with.
My heart was broken for her when months with no baby turned to years.
Then, I held my breath for nine months until I walked into the hospital and saw that wide-eyed boy in her arms, my joy for her nearly rivaling that of my own children's birth. I was amazed at baby two, incredulous at three, and out of words when Baby Boy entered the world last May.
She is exactly the kind of mom I knew she would be. I've not known anyone as devoted to her kiddos as she is.
Interestingly enough, she also is a neatnik, and now it's her kids who come to my house to be spoiled and get messy.
But the relationship is far from one-sided.
Together we share foundational beliefs that hold us together, otherwise, we're quite different. I trust her to share a side I might not have considered. I know she will know when life's a little harder than I'm able to handle, and remind me I'm loved and appreciated. I know she trusts that I only want the very best for her and hers, even when it fits differently than her ways.
What I didn't know when we had Ol' Henry, that every single last thing I did for him (thinking he'd be the only one after so much "getting with child" trouble) I'd have to repeat it all three more times.
Which is why I was scrubbing a wash tub in February and Handy Man and I were dragging out cords, and heaters, shoveling snow etc. so Baby Boy could have his tub pictures at relatively the same age the other three did. The things you do for love.
Happy Birthday Ol' Mother Hubbard.