Wednesday, October 8, 2014
My Favorite Daughter - Who was born second
They laid our precious child on my tummy. I looked down and was startled because she only had 4 toes. FOUR toes on each foot. Of course, I was prepared to love my child no matter how many toes or fingers, or how few for that matter! Then the little girl popped those reluctant toes out. They had been hiding behind the others. PHEW...I was relieved.
In the nursery of our teeny, tiny, country hospital was a preemie weighing 4 pounds at three months old. I felt almost guilty when they laid our beautiful 8 pound 14 oz. baby girl next to him. She came into the world absolutely perfect. She did fake her Mother out. Well, just for a moment.
Sarah Elizabeth was to be her name. She was named Sarah for her Maternal Grandmother, and Sarah Elizabeth for two of her maternal 2nd great Grandma's We wanted her to have a strong name! We wanted a name that would give her righteous role models. We had no idea that her name was so beautiful that many, many others also carried that same name.
Sarah had a rocky start in life. The tubes in her ears were formed in such a way that caused them to be chronically irritated and often infected. This also led to chronic colic. Sarah cried...A LOT! Looking back I wish that we had gotten tubes for her little ears, much sooner. The doctors all said that we should wait. They advised that the problem with her ears would get better as she grew bigger.
They were wrong. Her ears finally reached a point when they NEVER CLEARED of infection! At the age of three we had tubes put in her ears. She was a new child! She was happy almost all of the time! (That's about all any of us can say, right?)
She had been language delayed because her ears were so full of fluid that she couldn't hear well. Now she chattered like an adorable little birdie. She was eager to discuss any and all things.
Sarah was unstoppable! She wanted to run, run, and run some more. On a soccer team she didn't really care much about what the other team members did with the ball. She just wanted to run. Run she did, up and down the field. She even ran in her sleep, her chubby legs pumping the air vigorously.
Seven years old and alone with her beloved Daddy one day she proved her courage. Her Daddy had a biopsy in his throat. The incision popped open and began to hemorrhage. This would be a nightmare for anyone, but especially a 7 year old child.
She went and found a clean washcloth. Next she put pressure on the incision to get it to stop bleeding. All of this was done calmly, no histrionics, just something that had to be done.
Growing up with two parents who had serious physical challenges; Sarah learned empathy and compassion. From her earliest years Sarah was very aware of others around her, and longed to lift and love.
Sarah had a powerful passion for the magic of dance and singing. At six months of age she began to sing, little tunes that enraptured her. At the same time she became aware of rhythm and movement. At the age of eighteen months, Santa brought her a lovely, brand new, walker. The type that you pop the child in and off they go. It had wheels, but they couldn't seem to move fast enough for this little go getter. The best part for Sarah was that there were all types of ways to play rhythm and music. She would sit in that little chair and sing, dance, and rejoice. She was happiest when she could sing and dance.
Several years later we went shopping one day. There was a large circular stage in the middle of the immense electronics store. There had been some type of performance earlier in the day. The stage had not been cleared away. There was music playing on a loudspeaker. Many children were dancing on that stage. Ardis quickly joined the company. Shy Sarah was a little more difficult to convince. It didn't take very long after her sister began to dance. At first Sarah was timid, aware of all the people that might be watching. It was not long before Ardis became bored and went off to a different part of the store with her Daddy.
Sarah was entranced. It seemed as though she had forgotten that there was a world outside of the universe where she danced. She danced with the joy that comes from interpretation of music. Her face was filled with transformative wonder. When it came time to stop and go home it took a great deal of convincing (and perhaps some bribery) to lure her away from that stage, and dancing to that music.
Sarah and her Sister attended a special middle school for the arts. This allowed them to dance 5 days a week for an hour. Both of them took to dance like the proverbial duck to water. They were both happiest when they were dancing.
At home we sang together, danced together, and sometimes performed at church functions or family get-togethers. We were all happiest when we shared music in whatever form as a family. Grandma Sarah's favorite memory from our family was marching in the circle between our front room and kitchen to a children's hymn. Nyle led the marching, Grandma Sarah proudly marched behind him (she was in her 80s at this point), then Sarah and her sister Ardis. I Mama played the piano.
Sarah brightened every place just by entering. Her energy is legend. One of her roomies at college told me that you could hear Sarah's unique laughter all across the campus. (Sarah has a hearing loss from those years of infection. Sometimes she is a bit loud without knowing it.) Her laughter lightens and brightens the air around her. Her roomie said, "I love to hear Sarah's laugh. It makes the day seem happier."
Now, Sarah is a fifth grade school teacher. She decided that teaching was a way for her to bless the lives of others. Twenty-eight adorable children are blessed to be in Sarah's classroom each and every day. She laughs with them, helps them to feel safe in her space, and she teaches them how to find joy in everyday life. Oh, of course, there are the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. She simply integrates those subjects into real life. She doesn't want the students just to read and regurgitate. She wants them to look forward to a lifetime of learning.
Sarah helps care for me, her disabled Mother. She and her Sister insist that I took care of them, now it's their turn to take care of me. She is ever so loving. Laughter rings through our house when Sarah is home. Not that Ardis and I are gloomies. It's just that Sarah has this magical power of laughter and love. She carries it with her wherever she goes.
Maybe naming her after excellent role models was a good idea. She does her best to emulate these terrific ladies, while adding many of her own elements, the magic and joy of good humor, the power to change, the motivation to be better everyday.
I am grateful every single day for this darling dynamo. She entered the world strong and large. Then she grew into a tiny little body. Tiny but mighty is how I always think of Sarah. Her fifth graders are mostly taller than she is. Parents have assumed she was a student on multiple occasions. It doesn't matter. Her students love and appreciate the gifts that she gives them. I suspect that Sarah's legendary energy will last her well into her 90s. She will always be a positive power to be reckoned with!
I give thanks everyday to God above for the privilege of being Sarah's Mom!
Posted by CJ Smith at 9:25 AM