Ten years ago today, God sent the tiniest messenger to remind us of His immense love. This little bundle came to us in the form of a baby girl, swaddled in dreams, new beginnings, and kisses from heaven. I think she may have been a bit reluctant to leave the comfort of her heavenly home, as her momma spent 24 hours in labor! But, then, she had no idea how wanted and loved she already was. I don’t think there could have been a more eagerly anticipated child. For a number of reasons. First, the previous year had been one of heartbreaking grief with the death of two very important members of our family. Second, her poor momma suffered horribly in the summer heat and signs of toxemia, led her doctor to sentence her to the sofa for the last weeks of her pregnancy. The days prior to our little one’s birth, I sat with her during the day, watching over my own child like a lioness protecting her baby cub. I waited on her, made her lunch, watched others babies being born on A Baby Story presented by the Lifetime channel. We talked about her own birth, all the new gadgets available for mom and baby these days, and, the importance of names. When I asked my daughter what name they had selected, she sighed and said, “Mom, we need to see what our baby looks like in order to pick the right name.” I laughed, “Don’t babies all look alike?” Several times a day I would climb the stairs and enter the wonderland nursery decorated in “John Lennon Collection” accessories; fairytale animals, soothing blues, greens and yellows, the words of John’s tune, Imagine, in my head as it sprung to life and dreamed of the day when our baby cried the sweet sound of possibility into the room and our lives.
The evening arrived and so did our baby girl. As, she encircled her tiny hand around my finger, she wrapped herself around my heart, forever. When her parents announced her name, Alexandria Catherine, they were right. She WAS an Alex! Often, when I was privileged to baby-sit my new granddaughter, her parents would leave, she would be in my arms. When they returned home, much later, there we’d be, in the same position. I’d spend hours staring at her sleeping face, sniffing the freshness of her little fuzzy head, and kissing the teeniest rose bud lips, over and over, resuscitating with her oxygen and filling myself with healing. She was a reason to move out of the sadness, and leave a new legacy... one of courage, happiness, love, and joy.
As a baby, she was sensitive to her environment as well as the moods of those around her. She was affectionate, loved to cuddle, and was the best at “eskimo kisses” and “snuggle-buggys”. Perhaps this is where her mom came up with her nickname, “Bug.” At an early age, she showed signs of this ethereal love of mankind, religion and God. Every night she slept with her rosary, given to her by her great-grandma, often seen during the day as well, clutching it in her little hands, and praying! I recall a time when she was 4 years old, she overheard a conversation between her mother and I. Tugging at my shirt, she said to me, “Mimi, I will pray for you.” She dropped to her knees, grabbed her rosary and offered up a plea to God, for her grandma! This love of God, spills over in her compassion for others. She cannot stand to see her friends in trouble, her sisters hurt, or any living thing suffer. She is quick to pitch in and defend, help and support. Curious about everything, at 5, she studied her book of the Saints, knew their names and what they stood for (great-grandma again). At 6, King Tut was a fascination, and I promised her, someday, I would take her to Egypt. Age 7, it was dinosaurs and land animals; 8 brought an interest in sea animals and marine biology. Until she learned she would have to move near the ocean. This was just too far away from her family! Her family is the most important thing in her world, and I think it just might always be. Recently, she is fascinated by disasters, and real-life mysteries. She can site every detail of the Titanic’s demise, personal tales of human loss, and all the particulars of this cataclysm. She is obsessively curious about what happened to Amelia Earhart and will tell you, rumor has it, a makeup case was found on the ocean floor in the South Pacific. She questions everything about the Lincoln and the Kennedy assassinations and cross-examines every theory. She reads, researches, and her thirst to figure it all out is unquenchable. As I glance at my own bookcases, I see this desire to find the answers to life’s mysteries, a genetic trait, inherited, from her Mimi (me). Her mom encouraged her to pick up a fun fiction book at the library the other day. Not for our Alex. Her selection was a book about Katie Couric, her life and career in journalism. She also, delightedly shares a love of writing with me. Her written project, last school year, produced a ripple effect in dropped jaws at the imaginative nature of her assignment. In school she is smart; elementary age, summa cum laude status. Her curiosity is not limited to learning though, and she participates in dance, basketball, baseball, cheerleading, choir, and this year has expressed a desire for swimming and Girl Scouts. Whew!
She is also very much her mother’s daughter. Emotional, a sap for the sentimental stories of life, a classic girly-girl. Although, she never was much interested in Barbie Dolls, or traditional girl toys, preferring books, science oriented toys and craft projects. But, like her mom, she can put together a trendy outfit just glancing through a closet, has an eye for design, and inherited her mother’s voice and love of music. When her great-grandma asked her to sing a solo at her great-grandpa’s funeral this Spring, this brave little girl, stood before the crowd of mourners at our church, and in her perfectly pure voice, sang, You are Mine. Again, jaws dropped at the priceless gift she gave her grandpa, of not only her talent, but also the bravery in walking through her own grief and fear, to honor him and her family. This integrity, ethics and understanding of the Golden Rule, comes from her daddy as well as inheriting his honesty. She can be counted on for the truth!
Ten years old...she is growing up.... Sometimes that makes me sad, but mostly I feel excited to witness the evolution of this already awesome human being. She makes me smile in her explorations and I can see she is torn between the two worlds of being a little girl and having fun with her sisters, and acting like a big girl with her friends. Happily, the frolicking in the water at the pool, beats out the walking around the perimeter, gossiping with the older girls about the little 13 year old dudes. She did share with her mom, one “hot” little 13 year old had a “four-pack”! Guess the six-pack doesn’t sprout until about 16 or so! Thank heavens!
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite things about Alex. Her voice.... Truly, it is like receiving a call from an angel. The sound is so incredibly melodious and soothing. When she calls and leaves a message, I have been known to save it for those times when I need a reminder of the blessings in my life. The drive to become a better person, instigated by such a tiny being, has never been more apparent then when I reflect back today, on the birth of my first granddaughter, a true gift from God. Happy Birthday, Alex Bug!