Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.
I was listening to Pandora, I think, just yesterday, and “Sunrise, Sunset” sung by Roger Whittaker came on. Of course, the poignant memories of little children begin to seep out of my eyes just like when I hear Joni Mitchell’s “The Circle Game”. I know this is a wedding song…but I cannot but feel it is an appropriate song for today, February 15, 2022, the 18th birthday of my youngest child.
It’s been over 35 years since I started this journey of child rearing. Despite the longevity of this career, I feel like I am still such a novice, that the only thing I succeeded at with my kids was to worry about them. I oughta get an award for that, and they’ll agree. “You’re just like Papa!”, they say. That accusation doesn’t bother me anymore, there are other areas I wish I were “just like Papa”.
It’s been a long and winding road…laden with happiness and many tears. I bungled my way through. I feel so much like Gideon, so ill-equipped innately for the calling I chose. Yes, I chose them all. But…yes, but…I know Gideon’s God. And He has helped so very much.
My happiness wasn’t theirs. My happiness consisted of when they said profound things like when I offered Ricky some money, and he said, “No you keep it, you need it more than me.” Or when Chico gave five dollars to a homeless person at Richmond Bart, “he looked like he needed it more than me.” Or when Emilio texted, “I was just thinking of all you do, and your a really strong woman.” Or when Ellie stole Kevin Durant’s MVP speech, and wrote lovingly in a Mother’s Day card, “You’re the real MVP.” Or when little 8 year old Eloisa, always joyful, always thankful, declared, “I am thankful for having a great life.” Even when she shared a room with her mom and a number of sisters, even when times were tough.
Or when they did amazingly quiet, but extraordinarily kind things like when Eva scheduled a massage for me minutes after the ER doctor suggested it. Or when 14 year old Elizabeth stayed two nights at the hospital with her youngest brother so he wouldn’t be scared. Or when Espi, who during a hard time in her life, kept my anxious father company. He was comforted knowing she was in the house with him. Or when Evaristo apologized sweetly to his sister after an ugly fight. Or when Eugene wrote song lyrics about his grandmother watering her plants on the porch of the river cabin. “The Closest Place I Call Home.” She is there in his dream.
My cup runneth over with love (Ed Ames is singing right now)…these are but examples of the many, many happinesses I’ve reaped. Yes, there were many tears…but I hope those tears are what caused these seedlings to turn overnight to sunflowers…blossoming even as I gazed. They are a good bunch.
So, happy birthday, Eloisa! As you look forward from the sunrise of your life, I begin to gaze at twilighted sky unsure of what lies ahead. But, that’s OK, because I go with Gideon’s God.