Angel’s Assistant, First Class

The first time you ever crossed my mind was when I was 16. I was driving Poppy’s tractor without much to do but think.  That day, I started thinking about what it would be like to have a son someday.  Had I made the choice at that moment, I would have named you David Christian (your great-great grandfather was named Adolph Christian).  I dreamed of the fun we would have when I took you to baseball games or played catch in the backyard, just like Poppy and me.  I imagined what you would look like.  I was sure you were going to be a tow-head just like me.  I hoped you would be at least six-foot tall, because I had never made it that far.  I remember that I smiled a lot when I thought of you.

As beautiful as Jennie is, I was bound and determined to have a son next.  Three years and sixteen days after Jennie’s birth, my dream of having a son came true.  Although there were no complications with the birth, you did have one problem: they had to use forceps to keep you from being delivered before the doctor got there.  The doctor liked to make dramatic entrances just before each baby was born.  With you, he only had time to run over and catch you!  The problem was that the forceps briefly molded you head into a Conehead shape. You looked like the offspring of Dan Aykrod and Jane Curtin. I apologize for explaining to everyone that you head would “round out” in a few weeks. You were just trying to be ahead of your time.

I hate that there were gaps of time when we had to be apart because of Jennie’s illness.  I saw your little suitcase more often than I did you.  I know that I missed some very special steps in your life, but you always seemed to love me as if we were together 24/7.  During Jennie’s illness, you were always the comic relief. You always did something or said something that made us laugh when we needed to laugh most.  Falling into the toilet head first could have been a disaster, but we found you drenched with toilet water, smiling as if you were just waiting for your picture to be taken.  I loved the way you said, mazagine instead of magazine.  I remember how during your first trip to Disney World you couldn’t enjoy the rides, because you kept saying, “How do we get out of here dada?” It took me a while to realize that it was okay for you to say you were Wobbie instead of Robbie.  Continue reading

The Hands of an Angel

In celebration of my daughter Jennifer’s life.


It has been five years since I last held your hand. That day, I looked at your hands so differently than when I first held them.  The first time, I was counting to make sure you had ten fingers.  I marveled at the detail of your fingers and how perfect your fingernails were.  I knew that day that I held a miracle of God in my arms.  You couldn’t talk or control your arms or legs, but you wrapped me around your fingers without saying a word. I loved the feeling of your hand grasping my finger.  I loved how you grasped better than any other child I had ever known. How could have been so lucky to have the most beautiful little girl born into my family?

When you began walking, I loved it when you reached up to grab my hand, because you needed me to make you feel safe and secure.  I must admit I strutted just a little bit when people stopped and asked if your hair was naturally curly or marveled at how blue your eyes were.  I was not embarrassed to tell people I didn’t even know about some new thing you had done…mooing like a cow, pointing to your eyes or nose when I asked where they were and your special “chicken dance.” Even though it later required braces, I loved watching you put your thumb in your mouth at night while holding on to your “Bebo” pillow.

When Robb was born, you reached out to him with such love.  You were proud to be his “He-he.” You loved him when he made you late to school, but you were so proud of him when he made Chorale. I remember the night you handed him your Chorale robe as you prepared to graduate.  No one could have had a bigger smile.  The time you two spent sharing a house in Yukon was such a turning point in your relationship. Oh Jennie, I wish you could see your brother now.  He has grown into this wonderful young man who is focused on what he wants to do.  He is a child magnet just like you. Kids fall in love with him almost immediately. Thanks for believing in him so much. Continue reading


220px-Annie_Darwin Her given name was Anne Elizabeth, but her parents nicknamed her Annie. She was the second of ten children born into her family. Being the firstborn daughter in the family, it was fair to say that Annie was her Father’s favorite. After Annie’s death, her Father wrote, “We have lost the joy of the household, and the solace of our old age…. Oh that she could now know how deeply, how tenderly we do still & and shall ever love her dear joyous face.”[i] Continue reading