birth

Susie is the first grandchild born to my mom’s parents, and her birth would announce a major change in the family. Born just 3 years after her youngest aunt, gave her access to instant playmates. There was no need for play dates with all the aunts and uncles she had to play with. She also had an abundance of babysitters, although as she got older, she might not have appreciated so many bosses in her life. Still, the playmates she gained from having the younger 3 aunts made life interesting. I’m quite sure their role in her life changed as time went on too. From being allowed to hold the baby, when she was really little to using the baby to play house, to having tea parties with their little friend. No matter what the game, the four of them played through the years.

Susie would not be the only grandchild for very long though. With the addition of her little brother, George, my grandparent’s second grandchild, just a little over a year after her own birth, Susie became a big sister, and before long would be the big sister to 4 siblings in all. Now her world was filled with lots of playmates and lots of fun. Being the big sister can have its advantages, in that you get to tell all the little ones what games you are going to play, because they don’t know all the cool games. Of course, that phase doesn’t last too awfully long before they want to start presenting ideas of their own. That can be a bummer if you are used to having the say in the matter, but Susie has always seemed to me like a person who gets along well with others. Of course, I can’t really speak to how she was as a little kid, because…well, I wasn’t born until she was 8 years old, and even then, she would be a teenager before I would know much about her temperament. I can say, however, that I have always felt like Susie was very easy to get along with, and I have enjoyed any time I spent with her, so I expect that she was the same as a kid.

One of the sweetest things that Susie has done, as far as I’m concerned is that she and her sister, Shelley hold occasional luncheons for my mom, aunts, and uncles. It is such a wonderful thing to do for them. They can all get together at Susie’s house, and they don’t have to cook or clean up after, but rather they can just enjoy the time they have to reminisce about the past, and talk about what their families are doing these days. It means so much to all of them, especially since every year seems to find them smaller and smaller in number. Susie’s mom, my Aunt Evelyn, who is the oldest of my grandparent’s 9 children,  just turned 84, so time together is important. We just never know how many more years our aunts and uncles will have together.

Today is Susie’s birthday. I want to wish this sweet and special cousin of mine a very happy birthday. Susie, you are a wonderful person, and I hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks you for all you have done for my mom, and the aunts and uncles. Happy birthday, we all love you!!

This has been an exciting weekend…two people have been added to our family. The first by marriage, and the second by birth. In a surprise early delivery, Aleesia Juliette Spethman arrived this morning at 1:52 am, weighing in at 7 pounds 4.3 ounces, and 19.5 inches. She is the daughter of my niece, Jenny and her husband, Steve. What a wonderful weekend this has been.

Jenny and Steve have long waited for a baby girl to raise, and as many of you know, their first baby daughter, Laila Elizabeth Spethman was born November 4, 2010 and passed away November 22, 2010, leaving them with broken hearts and empty arms. While Laila can never be replaced, and will always live in their hearts, this new little life brings with her great joy and much celebrating!!

Aleesia is a beautiful baby girl with lots of dark hair…just like her mommy, and seems to look a lot like her older brother Zackery, who looks a lot like his mommy, so my guess is that Miss Aleesia is going to be Jenny’s mini me, which is so cool for her!!

It is also my guess that this little baby girl has her daddy wrapped around her baby finger already. As you can see from the picture, she has her baby finger out there getting started right now, and this picture was taken less than 30 minutes after she arrived. She is wasting no time getting daddy right where she wants him…but then, I don’t think Steve will mind that much.

Jenny and Steve have been through so much over the past two years, and I am just so pleased and excited for them now. A new day has begun. Their home will now have a new look. Pinks will be the new fashion. Their house will no longer be dominated by toy cars, Spiderman, swords, and dinosaurs, but will now add a mix of baby dolls, cradles, makeup kits, and of course, lots of girly shoes, because we all know that Jenny will raise her daughter to have plenty of shoes. A girl can’t possibly get by with just a couple of pairs!!

Yes, the future in the Spethman home is bright again. The empty arms are gone, and the new daughter is here. Aleesia Juliette with fill their days with sunshine and smiles, hair ribbons and little girl giggles, pink dresses and lots of shoes, and most of all joy!! Happy Being Born Day Aleesia Juliette!! We love you very much!! And congratulations to Jenny, Steve, Xander, Zackery, and Issac on the new little girl in your lives!!

Few events of our lives have the ability to change our lives forever. Motherhood is one such event. People get married and divorced, so they are a wife and not a wife, but once you are a mother, you are always and forever a mother. Each child is special…wonderful, in their own way. Each is different…unique, with their own special ways. And each child is a blessing beyond measure.

On June 30, 1975 at 7:10am, my life was forever changed by the birth of my beautiful daughter, Corrie. You have no idea what that is like until you have been there. There is no other feeling quite like that. You go from being a person with only themselves to take care of, and in an instant you are changed. There is a little life that is totally dependant on you to meet their every need. Pretty amazing stuff. This beautiful little life is looking to you to show her how to grow up.

Of course, those years of looking up to you, quickly pass, and you find yourself having to step back and let them spread their wings some. They are learning to “fly” on their own before you know it, and your heart feels like it is being ripped out, but you just have to swallow that horrible lump in your throat and let them go out on their own. They will come back to you, of course, but it seems like that will be so far down the road. Corrie has always made me very proud. She is an intelligent woman who is very capable, and an asset to any business, plus she runs a successful home based business, and is an active sports mom. She simply does it all…and still finds time to help with the care of her grandparents. She makes me very proud to be her mom, and happy that she came into my life.

Now, 37 years later, my daughter Corrie, is a mother of two sons who are in their teens and making her proud every day. She knows the way I feel today, because it is the same way she feels about her boys…so very proud, but at the same time you wonder how they could possibly be so grown up already. Life flies by so quickly that it all seems like it was just yesterday that it all got started with the birth of you first child. Happy birthday Corrie!!We love you very much!!

My grandson, Josh started out in this life as a preemie baby, being born 5 weeks early, and while his medical problems were minor…just underdeveloped lungs and his small size. After spending 2 weeks at Presbyterian St Luke’s Hospital in the neo-natal intensive care unit, Josh came home a healthy baby boy with no signs of the early birth he had experienced. He began the catch up process, and did a very good job of it. He quickly left behind that small size and weak lungs, and turned into a very healthy and strong runner.

Today, I had the privileged of attending Josh’s track meet in Douglas. Josh has always loved to run…even as a little boy, and he and his brother raced to school. Their dad tells me that they still race each other, and maybe that is why Josh is so good at racing…lots of practice. He started out trying to catch up to his brother, and then he started winning sometimes.

Josh did well in his races, but it was the 4 X 400 Meter Relay that was the most exciting…for many people. In the 4 X 400 Meter Relay, there are teams that race against each member of the team runs once around the track with a baton. After each runner runs their lap, the baton is handed off to the next runner. Josh was the second runner on his team. At the point the baton was handed off to Josh, his team was in dead last out of 6 or 7 teams. About a quarter of the way around the track Josh began his sprint. He passed the slowest runners easily, and then began the real catch up work. One by one Josh passed each other the other runners, until there was only one runner ahead of him. When Josh handed off the baton to the next runner, their team was in 2nd place, and there they stayed.

Josh had put his team back in the race. They were in last place…with little hope of changing their situation. It is very hard to picture any possibility of catching up. Then came Josh. He ran past each of the other racers as if they were standing still, and believe me, they were running hard. If there had been 100 more meters for Josh to run, he would have passed the first place team runner as well, but it didn’t matter, because they had been given hope again. And they weren’t in last place. Second place was a joyous position to be in.

After the race was over, and Josh returned to the bleachers where we were sitting near his school’s group. Josh was the talk of the crowd. All three coaches complimented him on a great run, as did all the students…and especially his teammates. The last runner on his team…usually the fastest runner, came up to Josh and said, “That’s it!! You are a permanent member of our relay team!!” It was a wonderful day for my grandson…and his parents and grandma too.

When my girls were having their babies, we were so blessed to have our own nurse to come over to the house and tell us when it was time to go to the hospital, and then be there in the delivery room…even on her day off, to help them through the process. It wasn’t that I hadn’t had children, but it is different when it is your girls in so much pain. It is one of the hardest things to watch. You feel helpless…and happy at the same time. We all felt more comfortable just knowing she was there. I was there for the birth of each of my grandchildren, as was their Great Aunt Jennifer, our own nurse. Not many people can say they had the same nurse for each child over the course of 2 1/2 years, but my girls could say that…and it was someone who cared about them too…not just a random nurse assigned to them. And how many of us will always know the nurse who helped deliver us or our children. I don’t even remember the names of the nurses who helped deliver my kids.

Jennifer became interested in nursing, and especially Obstetrics, when she had her first son. She started nursing school shortly thereafter, and has been an OB nurse ever since. She has assisted in countless deliveries, and delivered several herself…because, sometimes the doctor just doesn’t make it. I can only imagine how delivering a baby must make you feel. Being the one to hold that little life for the very first time. I can see how that would have become Jennifer’s dream career.

Over the years she has worked as a delivery room nurse and a nursery room nurse. She has seen joy and sadness, because unfortunately, not all births have a happy ending. Still, there are far more happy births than sad. That is one of the reasons she chose Obstetrics over, say Geriatrics or Oncology. She didn’t want her whole job to be about sadness and loss. Something I’m sure most of us can understand.

I know of several other people in Casper who remember Jennifer fondly as the nurse who helped deliver their children. And I know my girls, their husbands, their dad and I will always be grateful for the fact that when the babies were arriving, we had our own nurse to ease the way through the process. As much as it is worth the labor pains to have our babies, it still isn’t easy, and it helps to have someone there to…make you feel like it’s all a normal part of the process, and it will all be ok. Soon that new little life will arrive, and you will hold him or her in your arms, and the rest will fade away, but for our family, not our nurse. We will always remember her, because she is our own nurse. Happy birthday Jennifer!! We love you!!

There are events in your life that you can look back on and know that they changed your life forever. Things like marriage, motherhood, grandmotherhood, as well as the sad moments like death, come upon you and the world is suddenly just…different…forever. Few things are more exciting in the life of a mom than the day her children have children. I have been blessed to have 4 grandchildren…3 grandsons and 1 granddaughter. They are all the most wonderful gifts my girls and their husbands have ever given me. Each grandchild is special in their own way. Each one is unique, with their own personalities, skills, and ideas. The day each of them arrived changed my life forever, and for the better.

When my first two grandchildren, Christopher, my older daughter, Corrie and her husband, Kevin’s son, and Shai, my younger daughter Amy, and her husband Travis’ daughter, arrived a day apart, my status changed forever in a matter of two days. It was a whirlwind. I literally spent the better part of those two days at the hospital, witnessing my first and second births ever. I have been going through old pictures and I came across the pictures of my daughters right after giving birth to their first child. Their beautiful, glowing faces filled with awe and wonder as they held the most wonderful gift of God sleeping peacefully in their arms, is priceless. They both tell me that they looked awful, but that is not what I see. I see two beautiful girls who, I am happy to say, God blessed me with.

My younger two grandsons came in fairly quick succession, with Caalab, Amy and Travis’ son, born 17 months after his older sister, and Josh, Corrie and Kevin’s son, born 2 1/2 years after his older brother. So, within 2 1/2 years all my grandchildren would have arrived. It was a whirlwind…and a bit of a culture shock for their grandma, who having had 2 daughters and no sons, was…shall we say, somewhat unprepared for the difference in how girls act and how boys do. Nevertheless, those boys got me broken in pretty quickly, and now I am an old hand at boys as well as girls.

As the 16th anniversary of the day I became a grandmother arrives, I find myself still in awe of the blessings that God has given me. It seems like only yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting their arrival. How could that have been 16 years ago? Where has the time gone? Before I know it, and I know that my girls probably don’t want to hear this, my girls will become grandmothers and I a great grandmother. And just “days” after that, a great great grandmother, because time goes by so very fast that the years seem like days. If was after all, only yesterday the Bob and I were welcoming our beautiful daughters into this world, and also just yesterday that we welcomed each of our grandchildren, so it stands to reason that the next generation, and the next will feel exactly the same way. Yes, time goes by so quickly, but I wouldn’t change one second of it where my kids and grandkids are concerned. I am so very blessed, and I thank God for such wonderful gifts.

We have all had a best friend…someone who is as close to us as a sister or brother, but through the years these close friendships often dwindle and fade into the obscurity of time. Friends go their separate ways as their lives grow and change. Sometimes, those friends go out of our lives never to return…but, sometimes life takes a different direction and the result is quite special.

Machelle and Rachel were best friends in high school and beyond. Their sons were best friends practically from birth. But this friendship will not be one that will dwindle away, because Machelle introduced Rachel to her Uncle Ron. You can introduce someone to a friend, but you can’t make that relationship work. That is up to the new couple. Well, the relationship between Ron and Rachel worked, and in June of 2010, they were married. With this marriage, Rachel went from being Machelle’s friend to being her aunt…but Machelle has informed Rachel that she refuses to call her Aunt Rachel.

And this situation has infiltrated a second generation. Machelle’s son Weston is best friends with Rachel’s son, Riley, and now, because of the marriage of His mom and Ron, Riley and Weston have become so much more that just friends. They are cousins once removed. Of course, most people just call that cousins, because to call it cousins once removed, is just confusing…especially to two boys who don’t really care one way or the other about how they are related to their best friend, they are just excited that their best friend will always be their best friend, because they aren’t just friends, they are family.

It’s always a special thing to know that your best friend will always be close to you, abut it is even more wonderful to know that your best friend will always be in your life, because they have become part of your family. And our whole family has been blessed because of the friendship that began with Machelle and Rachel, and grew into parts of a family.

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