Tuesday, July 3, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIRECRACKER!


July 4, 2007


She's fifty! She's fifty! She's fifty!



This is the child that I dreamed of, waited for, tried for over three years ( it was fun) and finally on a wonderful 4th of July, 1957 at 9:17 at night, God finally gave me the perfect child I had dreamed of having. We had started out wanting six children. I had thought a girl to start, a girl to finish and however many boys who would happen in the middle. Remember, I told you that I wanted to make clothes (I made this dress) and fuss with little girl's hair? Well, she was so beautiful, that I sewed far into the nights and fixed those pretty blond curls to my heart's content. She was a wonderful baby, but I found it hard to put her down for even a few minutes. I remember asking the doctor at six weeks, "How long will it be until I can safely go to the bathroom and leave her alone?" Motherhood took every minute of my day. She turned three a few days after my third child was born and I had thought that she was very grown up and helpful with the "little kids". She always seemed so self confident that I didn't know until recently about all the little insecurities she had as a child. Through the years she has mentioned how frightened she was if I had a baby sitter and left them alone for a couple of hours before her dad came home from work. Children today are brought up with day care from six weeks old until they marry and leave home. But in the early sixties, moms stayed home and the kids became very attached to their security blanket parent. For all the little things that frightened you, Lesley --- I am so sorry that I didn't see it or know that you were not old enough to know how safe you were. But, I am very flattered to know that I was her whole world.
One day when she was a preschooler, she was very bored and I told her that when she learned to read, she would never be bored again. She took me at my word and learned rapidly to be a voracious reader. By the end of the first grade, the librarian gave her special permission to read from the junior high area of the library and she read over 100 books that summer. The school gave state proficiency tests to the primary grades when she was in the second grade and her teacher called me to school. I was so afraid that she had done something wrong, but the teacher just wanted to tell me that she had the only student in the three grades who had a perfect test ----my Lesley! (And she beat the third grade kids!)
My dad bought her a flute when she was in the fifth grade and she started flute lessons at school and piano at home. The high school had a program where the eighth grade band kids would attend marching band camp for two weeks in the late summer and then be allowed to play with the high school band for the first football game. She was afraid to go to band camp, but I told her that grandfather had bought the darn flute and she would go or I would wrap it around her neck. She loved it! The older girls each took a younger one as a little sister and shepherded them through all the important things, ate lunch with them and generally made them feel at home. This was just the thing a kid needs to feel like they have a hand up when entering high school.
Lesley was an excellent student (Honor Society), an officer in the band, a majorette in the marching band and worked in a restaurant by sixteen. Working gave her the idea to pay for college herself. We didn't know if she could make it, but by going to a local college and keeping a semester ahead of the tuition, she was able to go to England and Scotland for a study tour between her junior and senior years. She arrived back home from London with fifty cents in her pocket, because she purchased the in flight movie for $3.00. College took only three and a half years, because she had tested out of so many courses at the beginning.
Graduating mid-year made her available when a local school district staffed a new school for a March opening. They had over three hundred teachers apply for five jobs and Lesley got one of them. She is a lively chatterbox and I think she charmed the superintendent into hiring her. She married that next summer and had three boys in the next few years, but unfortunately the marriage went south. So, she has raised three boys, taught school full time and received her Masters+ in Reading (big surprise) in order to earn enough to handle the single mother job.
We are so much alike in so many ways, --- like reading and sewing, but she knows way more about old movies than I do and she loves almost all music from the classics to all the latest things.
One thing she started in our family is left handedness. There had never been any in either side of our families, but all three of our children are southpaws. I think the other two copied her when they were little, because they do some things one way and other things right handed. Lesley does everything as a lefty. She had to have left handed scissors and I couldn't teach her how to knit or twirl a baton without having her switch it around to her way of doing things. I'm not smart enough to switch it, but she did everything automatically.
So, she is fifty and she is a wonderful woman, but she is still the little girl who holds our hearts in her hand. It has been a fantastic fifty years. We love you, Firecracker --- Never stand in the window waiting for us to come home, because we are always here. Dad and Mom

4 comments:

Matty said...

Kacey,
That post made me cry! Halfway I had to take off my glasses and cry..not tears of sadness but tears of joy! What a gorgeous girl...she could have been a model from day One!
When I got married..all I wanted were boys..and God gave me 2. Many years later, I was sorry I didn't have a daughter...but God came through again...and gave me a granddaughter...a wonderful gorgeous intelligent little girl. And just like your Lesley, I taught her to read when she was 3...people are amazed! She is now in 3rd grade and reads with 8th graders...her teacher told me she even corrects her when she misspells a word on the blackboard...and she doesn't mind!
On top of that...my Maggie (who's 9 now) is the only left-handed child we have in the family. Last year when I tried to teach her to knit a scarf, with the basic 'plain & purl'...I was at a lost. Her little hands would just not do what I could do being 'right-handed'...and I haven't a clue how to teach a leftie?
How did you manage to write this post with tears dripping down your face? You must be so proud!
No matter how old she gets, she will always be your little girl. And now she's a wonderful woman...but then again...a little girl imitates the female in charge of the family...so Lesley had you as a mentor and an example to follow. You did a wonderful job, Kacey...no wonder you're so proud!
I hope that my Maggie will remember my teachings...as she reaches adulthood...we live in a scary world...and if kids are going to make it today...they need to have values and mentors to help them through the jungle we call life.
I firmly believe that it doesn't matter what degree's we earn or what success comes our way..or the amount of money we have accumulated in our lifetime...if we have raised our kids to be kind, compassionate, loving people who are content in whatever career they choose, and are productive caring individuals...then we have done our job. Well done, Kacey!

Matty said...

Sorry, meant to tell you that Annie has meme'd you...!

Carine said...

Kacey, Lovely post to your daughter. It will be my 50th near Turkey Day. She sounds like someone I'd love being friends with!

Cathy said...

Kacey, that was a lovely tribute to your daughter. I imagine she feels as blessed having you for a mother, as what you do having her as a daughter.