I was six that day just a few years ago, when the sun shone. You came that day, and I don’t think it stopped being sunny ever since.
I don’t think I quite realized it was you, when you were coming. The first mention of you that I can recall is Dad trying to get us to guess what was coming. We were having oatmeal at the time, the only thing we had for breakfast those days, and I said, “an egg.” The days before you came were muffin days. Dad made all kinds of muffins, mostly because Mom was always lying down, and it’s hard to cook lying down.
We would go to Mrs. Martin’s house and play Mexican Train dominoes. Mom would talk to Mrs. Martin and Mrs. Martin said again and again, “this baby is going to be such a blessing.” A few days later, when church people brought us supper and they gave me an’ Les some Almond Joy bars, I knew Mrs. Martin was absolutely right. Mom never bought us Almond Joy bars, ever. It was all because of you.
We counted beans for all the days before you were born. Little did I know that nine months of bean counting was just the first of many home school activities. Les an’ I gave up after a while and forgot to keep moving a bean from one jar to the other. You came anyway, so maybe the bean counting didn’t make a big difference. If we had known it was you we were waiting for, I am sure we wouldn’t have stopped counting.
If I had known it was you that night when Dad called and said to come to the hospital, I would have been more excited, too. To be honest, I really wanted to stay at the Hansen’s instead. They had Free Willy I, and I was dying to see it, especially because there were two more Free Willys after that, and I was feeling quite behind. We went to the hospital to meet you instead, and then we had to go to Gramma’s for a while. (Do you know that I have yet to see Free Willy?)
At home, you lay in a bassinet on the floor. You probably don’t remember, but I sat there and watched you for hours. Sometimes I got in trouble because I didn’t come right away when Mom called; but how could I help myself? If I had known it was you, I would have sat there even longer, watched you even more.
When you started to talk, we told you that you were once “just a thought.” You would get upset about this, because how could you have ever been anything but Alexa? (The one thing we neglected to tell you: we used to be thoughts once, too.) Dad would ask you to pray for dinner, you would always say the same prayer: “Thank you, God, for this food an’ friends an’ Jesus an’… thoughts. Amen.”
If I had known it was you, coming, I would have listened more closely to your prayers, the sound of your voice learning to read, the conversations you had with your dollies.
And I suppose ten years from now, when I look back at this day, I’ll think: “If I had known it was you, coming, I would have ____________.” Just like everyone who belongs to God, I guess you are be coming more “you” each day.
Alexa, here’s looking at all you already are, and all you’re going to be. Here’s to sixteen years of sunshine.
Happy, happy birthday to you.
Written March 25, 2012, for her sixteenth birthday.