This tomb, seen along the roadside in Israel, reminds me of another tomb where God testified regarding eternal blessing and renewal.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Princess!

Elizabeth turned four on July 12. That is, four YEARS old. I can hardly believe we have had her for so long; only one short year and she begins school! Can that be? I already grieve the disappearance of that little baby that could laugh out loud with me for five minutes at a time from the age of 6 months—no kidding. I never knew what could be so funny to her; she was the item that kept me laughing. She had/has the most contagious laugh I have ever heard. We were (I was, definitely) silly, maybe because our emotional ages seemed to be perfectly aligned!

My mother died when I was 21. As a young girl, she had told me over and over that she wanted more than to be my mother; she wanted to be my best friend. She didn’t mean that she wanted to act juvenile or that she refused to be a disciplinarian—she was never the former and always the latter. She meant that she wanted to be close; she wanted me to want to spend time with her. She wanted to matter in my life, and she did. I married at age 19 (I can hardly believe it myself by now), and though I dearly loved my husband and believed then and until this day that he was the best choice I ever made, I missed my mom. We had just gotten to know one another again—after the requisite years of tension known as my teens (and even then we never had the kind of volatile relationships some of my friends had with their moms). So, when Mother died only two years after I married, I was devastated; truly I had lost my best friend. One of the things that sustained me through those months was my hope that one day I would have a daughter with whom I might rekindle the deep, emotional fellowship I shared with my mom.

Well, I didn’t have a daughter. God blessed my life with three sons, three marvelously diverse, incredibly handsome young men. I honestly believe that from the moment of their births, I celebrated each of them with as much vigor as any mother could, and I worked hard to build a personal relationship with each one. I tried with a good measure of success to reserve time every week to be alone with each one—until they outgrew the experience…and, of course, they did. When they became men, their dad began receiving more phone calls (as well should be); watching their relationships with him blossom blessed me, too. I could see some of my relationship with my mom in their interaction with him. As a mom, my children have blessed me extraordinarily. They have treated me far better than any daughter ever treated her mom; mothers of sons get the kind of honor every woman craves, and I love every minute of it! But I always wondered what God had in mind when I didn’t have a daughter. Well, I think I have an idea, but this is not the place for that topic.

When our eldest Shane and his beautiful wife Kara announced they were expecting, we all anticipated a boy. Why not? The Alexanders have boys! But God had unfinished business.

Elizabeth Lenna Alexander (My mother’s first name was Lenna) was born July 12, 2005. She has blessed us all with more joy than we could ever anticipate. A friend of mine told me before she was born: “You will be totally unprepared for how totally overwhelmingly wonderful it is to be a grandmother.” She was so right! I have never been the same since.

I now have two granddaughters (delights in every way) and two grandsons (also delightful, these guys bring home such amazing memories). Elizabeth and Eleanor. Peyton and Asa. Thank you, God.

On Sunday, July 12, we worshiped on the ranch—at its highest peek. Some of the time, I held Elizabeth in my lap (when she wasn’t loitering far too near the edge of the cliff). As I held her, my mind retraced some the journey of these past four years:

• Her first birthday party (thrown by Granna): she was two weeks old (isn’t that crazy?)

• Our first “giggle fit,” reading the little book, “Here we go round the mulberry bush,” and all those that followed. –six months

• Listening as she argued with herself about whether she really needed the milk she so badly wanted: “I want miiiiilk…. No, no, I don’t-want miiilk…. “I WANT MIIILK!”

• Hearing her call up from the bottom of the stairs when she thought it was time for me to get out of bed and join her and her Granbarry downstairs—“Gran-aaaahhh!”—18 months

• Her first Easter dress after she could walk…sliding out like a princess to show off for Daddy. 20 months

• Waiting (impatiently) on Peyton, then being totally surprised and infatuated when he arrived!—2 years

• Playing “I ‘py” (I spy) with Granna all the way home from Colorado—three years

• A never-ending cue for laughter and silliness: “Granna, let’s just talk about puppy dogs and kitty cats, okay? –three years

• Loving (and, well hating is far too strong a word) Shiloh, her puppy.—3.5 years

• Loving the repetition: “Granna,” she has often said, “You’re my best friend.”

Happy birthday, Princess! You make my life so rich!