To My Mother on Mother’s Day

I want to wish you the very happiest Mother’s Day ever.

Except you’re not here to celebrate with us any more. And each Mother’s Day I continue to miss you and wish so very much you were still here. Even if it were just for this one special day.

Especially this year.

Because this would have been the year you’d celebrate Mother’s Day as a great-grandmother. Not that you weren’t a GREAT grandmother to Ashley, because you were the best! But this year you’d actually have that title. Great-grandmother. That beautiful little baby in the photo above…that’s your great-granddaughter in her first few hours of life. The little girl named after you. Almost a year ago.

She made you a great-grandmother.

And I know you’d wear that title proudly. You wouldn’t mind a bit if anyone knew your age then, because you’d wear it as a badge of honor. Because that granddaughter you’d waited so long for had given you her daughter to bestow that title on you.

So many, many times I’ve wished you could see your namesake. Baby Rachel is beautiful. A wonderful, happy, smiling little girl. We’d be four generations of strong and loving women….that would have been so wonderful.

So many times I’ve wanted to be able to call and tell you about our granddaughter, about that funny little thing she just did, or how especially cute she was that day, or how much fun all of us had taking her shopping, like you used to do with her mother.

But there are no phones in heaven. No mail delivery. No photo albums. No Skype. I can’t reach you except in my mind and in my dreams.

So many times I’ve wished we’d had smartphones when Ashley was a baby so we could’ve sent you daily pictures and videos of her like we get every day of Rachel. So many times I’ve looked at our granddaughter and seen a glimpse of your smile, your look, and suddenly felt like a part of you was still with us, laughing with us, and just loving that precious baby.

But I’m hoping that somehow you know. I’m hoping somehow you’ve seen her, seen your beloved granddaughter with her own beautiful daughter. I’m hoping you and Daddy both have had that privilege to be able to share in all our happiness.

I remember so many years ago my Aunt Ruth telling us she believed the Lord let those in heaven see the happy family occasions that were happening with their loved ones back here on earth. Because heaven is a place of total joy, and seeing their loved ones rejoicing over special occasions would only make them happier. Somehow, in some way, I still believe that to this day.

So Mom, I’m wishing you a very special Happy Mother’s Day this year. Yes, I still miss you more than words can express. I still cry on occasion because you’re not here. I still talk to you in my mind, and I hope you can hear me. And I can still hear your voice in my head saying my name.

And when our granddaughter is old enough to understand, I’m going to tell her all about you. All about the things you used to do with her mother. And I’m hopefully going to get to do those same things with Rachel. Not that my cooking skills will be anything like yours, nor will I ever be able to play “school” like you did, but I’m going to try. You were a one-of-a-kind grandmother.

Just like you were a one-of-a-kind mother. And I still will cherish this picture of our three generations on our last Mother’s Day with all three of us.


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Grandmom. And Great-Grandmom. I’ll love you always.

Your Very First Christmas

What do you think, little one, when you see all of the lights, all of the colors, all of the beauty around you? You certainly don’t know what’s going on, because you’re too young to understand.

I so wish I knew what you were thinking….

Because somewhere inside of you, even though you’re only 6-7 months old, you’re sensing that there’s something special happening. Something out of the ordinary going on.

2016-12-03-18-04-30Mom and Dad are dressing you up more often, and taking more pictures than usual, if that’s even possible. You’re wearing a red furry hat one minute, and a ruffled bright red dress another. Seems they just can’t make up their minds!

There’s something new in the house that’s full of bright colorful lights and shiny dangling ornaments in all kinds of shapes and colors and sizes. You don’t really know what they are yet, but they’re pretty to look at, and you can’t resist putting your little hand out to see what they feel like. In the coming years you’ll know it’s called a Christmas tree, and you’ll help decorate it, but right now you’re just marveling at seeing something else new that you’ve never seen before.

There are so many lights on there! You’re not sure what they are, but you know they’re bright and beautiful and you love looking at them. Mommy and Daddy even wrapped some of those lights around you, and took the most wonderful pictures! And you had a great time playing with them. Another baby’s first Christmas delight…..


And when you’re old enough to help decorate that tree, you’ll see the Christmas ornament your mommy and daddy made with your little baby footprints on it this first Christmas with you. And you’ll be amazed at how small they were, and you’ll probably want to do another one now that you’re “so much bigger!”


You’ll see a lot of special photos from your first Christmas, too, some that we made into ornaments, and some that are framed and sitting all around the house. You might even ask who they are, and we’ll happily tell you “it’s you!” And your reaction….I don’t know but I’m looking forward to it.

You’re hearing new sounds as well. You really don’t know what they are; how could you, but it’s the sound of bells. Jingling bells on a sleigh, and in a song on the radio appropriately called “Jingle Bells”. One day in a few years you’ll probably be singing along with it. And we’ll be there recording the moment to keep forever.

And there are new smells around the house, too. You were just getting used to the smells of Mommy’s cooking and Daddy’s grilling. Now there are a whole new array of scents to enjoy.

image064Fragrant candles scented with cinnamon and peppermint. The smell of pine and evergreens as Mommy and Daddy take you on a walk in the woods to look for decorations for the house. The tantalizing aroma of cookies baking in the oven that you aren’t quite old enough to sample yet. The smell of hot chocolate on a cold night as you’re snuggling with your mom and dad just before drifting off to sleep.

And then there was that day you met another new person. You were dressed up in your “Merry and Bright” outfit (and you sure were!) and were happily enjoying riding around the mall and sleeping in your stroller, when you were waked up just to be placed in the arms of a man wearing a bright red suit trimmed in white fur. However, unlike many babies who see Santa for the first time, you weren’t scared at all! Somehow you knew, this was a good person, and someone you were going to enjoy learning about, so you just sat there and smiled for the camera, enjoying every minute!

 

photo-2Grandmom and Grandpa also bought you a special dress and took picture after picture of you (again!) in it! I really wonder what you were thinking all the time we had you posing for us. Did you really understand how excited we are to have you in our lives; how proud we are of you; and how very, very much we love you?

2016-12-17-15-54-19-1We also couldn’t wait to show you the Christmas stocking we had made for you that matches the ones Mommy and Daddy and Grandmom and Grandpa have. You weren’t’ really sure what it is when I showed it to you, but you’ll find out soon enough.

So now it’s only a few days before Christmas. A few days before Santa comes down that chimney bringing wonderful gifts for you. We’ll open them for you, and explain what they are as we help you play with them. And there’ll be even more pictures of course.

 

 

We’re excited, so much more this year than you are, because you don’t truly understand Christmas yet. But you will. And each year will bring more and more special treasures, special memories, and an understanding of what Christmas really means.

2016-12-18-14-09-17
So on this, your very first Christmas, we wish you joy and happiness and an excitement like no other day.

If we could only know what you’re thinking…!

Merry First Christmas baby Rachel! We love you!!! And you are the best gift ever

Changed Lives

May 30, 2016

One week ago two lives were forever changed. They’d prepared for it as best they could. They had the furniture, and the accessories, the clothes and the diapers. They’d had baby showers and gifts. Her name had been selected months before.

They were ready. So they thought.

But when the moment came, and that tiny new life, created from the best parts of both of them, was placed in their arms, life forever changed. And they knew they hadn’t been prepared. Not really.

Because how can you totally be prepared for the miracle of new life when she’s suddenly placed in your arms? No longer inside her mommy’s belly, being nurtured and protected only by her, this little miracle has now entered the world, totally helpless and dependent on her parents to provide for her every need. She cannot feed herself, clothe herself, or change her own diapers. She cannot put herself to bed. She cannot hold her own head up yet, cannot crawl, cannot walk.

She is totally and completely theirs, and she is relying on them for everything in her entire new little adventure into a big, and sometimes scary, new world.

They knew all of this. But until she was in their arms that first time, there was no way they really totally KNEW.

Because until you hold that little life for the very first time; until you look in her eyes together and see yourselves in her face; until you hear that first sweet cry, you cannot image the pure love that you are suddenly engulfed in. It’s a feeling that’s indescribable, and one that will never leave, no matter how old you become. The bond between child and mother and child and father is one to be cherished forever, and is not meant to be broken.

They were both totally overwhelmed with emotions they never even imagined were possible. They couldn’t believe she was theirs. It was almost more than they could comprehend. But one thing they knew…their lives were changed forever from that first moment. Changed for nothing but good, and the good only gets better and better every day.

I knew my daughter and son in law would be great parents. But I just am overwhelmed by how they’ve taken on their new roles as mommy and daddy. They both are amazing, especially Daddy, who has to take a bit more active role now because of Mommy’s C-section recovery.

Watching my daughter hold her own daughter, who looks exactly like her when she was born, is nothing short of amazing to me. There’s just something about watching your child holding and feeding her own child; you wonder where the years went, and suddenly realize, you succeeded as a mother, because your own daughter has so naturally become a mother now herself.

And for us, as new grandparents, our lives are changed as well. We now have another generation to love and nurture, and to watch as she grows up to become an amazing young woman.

There is just nothing like the feeling of holding your baby’s baby in your arms; no words to describe it, and I still cry once in awhile as I feel her softness and cuddle her closely. I marvel at her every time I hold her, and have even caught myself calling her my daughter’s name because they look so much alike. Her new granddad is already head over heels in love with her, and he’s already wrapped around her tiny finger. The love on his face as he holds her is simply amazing.

Yes, all of our lives were changed a week ago. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy one week birthday Rachel Marie!

Mom, Did You Know…?

Did you know I’m a grandmother now? Our precious Ashley and her wonderful husband Chris initiated us into that club Monday morning. They presented us with the most beautiful baby girl we’ve ever seen.

One of my friends, and yours, told me, “Now you know how your mother felt when you had Ashley!” I hadn’t thought about that. But she’s so right. I guess I never really understood.

Until now. Until I saw her little face; looked into her beautiful blue eyes; and held her in my arms. At that moment I saw pure love. And I saw your eyes in hers, just like you probably saw your own mother’s eyes in Ashley’s when you first held her.

Mom, I really, really wish you could be here. Even for just a couple of minutes. I wish you could see your great-granddaughter. I wish you could hold her in your arms. Because I know how much you loved your granddaughter, and I know how very much you would love your new great-granddaughter.

There have been so many times I’ve started to pick up my phone and call you, just to tell you what little Rachel is doing. How cute and adorable she is. How much Ashley loves her new baby daughter, and what a wonderful mom she is already. How it’s already second nature for her to take care of her. She’s enjoying every minute. The love on her face when she holds her and snuggles with her…I just want to cry.

I wish you could be here to see Chris, Ashley’s husband, and how wonderful and loving a dad he already is. He’s changing diapers; he’s feeding her; holding her; loving her and just talking to her all the time. I know how happy you’d be. Because I am, too.

And then there’s the new grandpa. I’m sure you remember how excited Ben was when we had Ashley. How much he loved her, and how he would do anything he possibly could for her. Well he’s already the same way with little Rachel, and she’s only three days old. The look of love on his face when he holds her is beyond anything I could imagine. She has him wrapped around all of her fingers…and toes!

The only thing missing is you.

I wish you were here so I could share my thoughts and feelings with you, and ask questions. Because I don’t know how to be a grandmother, but I guess it’s something that comes naturally. I know how nervous I was as a new mother, and how you told me I’d be a great mother. That I’d learn very quickly what to do. And you were there to help me that first week every step of the way. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. You were such a natural at being a grandmother, like you’d been preparing for it all your life. And I guess in a way, you had been.

And now I’m getting ready to do the same thing with my daughter. And Mom, I’m not really sure I know what to do, but I’m going to remember what you did.
Because you were the best mother in the world to me, and the best grandmother to Ashley that she could ever have had. I only hope I can be half that good.

And now that I’m a grandmother, that makes you a great-grandmother.

And you are just that. A wonderful, as well as a great, grandmother. And I still miss you every day. But I believe in my heart, and in my spirit, that you know what’s going on. I believe you and my father both have been given the gift of being able to see a little of what’s going on in our lives during this wonderful, precious time. And I can feel you both smiling down on us all, happy as you can be, on our new family.

But I still miss you. And I always will. Thank you for all you did for me, and for Ashley. And thank you for letting us give your name to our new granddaughter.

I love you, Mom. And we’ll all continue to make you proud of us.

Thoughts from a New Grandmother

A week ago I started writing this blog. Here’s what I’d written so far, up until Sunday night:

“Any day now she’ll be here. I’m actually telling myself that, because it actually could be any day. We’re officially less than ten days away, but you know babies, and whatever the doctor says may not be what the baby says!

Actually, it’s what the Lord says, because He’s the only one who knows exactly when. And when it’s time He’ll tell baby Rachel. And then the process will start.

I remember when I had our daughter. I was scared to death. I was ready to have her, and I was excited, but I do have to say I was scared. I wasn’t going through labor since she was breech, and the C section was scheduled. I never even had any labor pain. Ashley was just taking her time, minding her own business, and was in no rush to come out into the world.

But our granddaughter seems to be ready. And she’s making it known. Our daughter has been having pains all week. So she could be here any time. She’s been to the hospital twice and sent back home because they said she’s not ready.”

And now…

After a third trip to the hospital on Sunday night, and even though she supposedly still wasn’t in labor, although her contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes, a kindhearted and compassionate nurse decided there was no way she was sending our daughter home again. And she made sure she wasn’t released.

The next morning, May 23, at 4:20 am, little Rachel was delivered. Our daughter had indeed been in labor. Thank goodness for that nurse, and our daughter’s wonderful doctor who came to the hospital to deliver her personally, even though he wasn’t on call.

You see, when God makes a plan, He makes it happen. In His way, and in His timing. He orchestrates it all. Perfectly.

I cannot begin to express my feelings when I saw our granddaughter for the very first time as she was being taken to the nursery in her isolette. Her eyes opened and she looked at us, and I saw a glimpse of the wonder of heaven, and yes, a smile from my own mother as she watched from above. I cannot begin to express my feelings at that moment. I wanted my own mommy beside me, just for a moment to share my joy, and I felt my eyes moisten as I tried not to cry.

When your child has a child of her own, your entire world, your entire view of life, is forever changed. From the moment we saw her, from the moment we held her in our arms, we were instantly struck with a feeling of love like never before. With a feeling of awe and amazement totally different from when we had our own daughter almost 28 years ago.

This tiny new little being is the child of our child; the daughter of our daughter. She carried this precious little being inside her for nine months, and now she’s in our arms…all of our arms as we take turns holding her, marveling at her curly hair, long eyelashes, her tiny long fingers, and her cute little feet and toes.

All of our friends told us being grandparents was something totally different from being a parent. That it was an indescribable feeling. ‘You’ll see!” They said.

They were right.

Welcome to the world, Rachel Marie!

XOXOXOXOXO

Who Ya Callin’ Granny?

As soon as I started telling all my friends about our new upcoming status as grandparents, everyone started asking me what I was going to have baby Rachel call me! We already figured Ben would be either Grandpa or Granddad, but choosing a name for a grandmother to be called, in these days, I guess, is easier said than done!

There are a lot of possibilities out there now. Nana, Nanny, Meme, Gigi, Gran, Mom-mom, Grammy, Glamma, Grams; these are just some of the now popular names for grandmother.

I even looked up some of the name possibilities on line, and I was amazed. I can’t imagine being called GaMo, or Memo, Mimi, Nonny, Lally, Pippa, Glammy….and that’s some of the more reasonable ones!

Guess I’m a bit behind the times. I do have some friends who decided (and rightly so) that becoming a grandmother at the age of forty, although they were thrilled about it, didn’t mean they wanted to be called grandma, because it sounded a bit, well, old, shall we say? So they elected to be called Nana or Nanny. And I think it fits them well.

But it doesn’t sound like me.

Another friend is called Gigi by her grandchildren. I asked her how that came about, and it was actually quite simple. GG…Gorgeous Grandma! Well, she is! I like that, too, but still, I just don’t think it’s me.

When I was growing up, my mom’s mother, my Grandmom, always spoke about Granny. Granny was a distant relative I never met (maybe my grandmother’s mother or grandmother – I have no idea), but I saw an old picture of her once, and she was just that! Old! Or at least she looked old to me! (Of course, those photos from back in the early 1900’s or earlier made everyone look old!)

Then there was Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies TV show in the 60’s. She was funny, and certainly made the show what it was, but still, she was made up to look OLD as well. Irene Ryan was only 60 (younger than I am now) when she played that part, but she sure looked like she was some 15 years older, at least! Especially with those “granny glasses” that became so popular.

No, in my world, I’m NOT going to be called Granny!

I remember someone asking my own mother what Ashley was going to call her, and her simple answer….”anything she wants! She’s my granddaughter and I don’t care what she calls me.”

I always called my mother’s mother Grandmom. I don’t remember why; that was just her name as far as I was concerned. I didn’t know my father’s grandparents very well at all, and quite honestly, I don’t think I ever called them anything, because I didn’t see them much, and they weren’t like the loving, fun grandparents on my mother’s side.

Ashley always called my mother Grandmom. But to be honest, I’d never thought about it. Not at all. Even when Ashley and Chris told us we were going to be grandparents, it didn’t really hit me that I wasn’t going to just be “mom” to someone any more. A “grand” was getting ready to be added to a title.

The definition of “grand” is “majestic”, “magnificent”, and my favorite, “a term denoting the most important item of its kind.”

Hmmmm…..

Not that I’ll ever consider myself more important in my granddaughter’s life than my daughter (her mother), but that gives the term a whole new meaning.

Grand mom. To a grand daughter. Yeah. I like that. And I’m sure I’m going to have a magnificent granddaughter…the most important in the family line so far!

Just call me Grandmom! I only hope I am as good a grandmother to Rachel as the two other ladies in my family who were honored with that same title were to their granddaughters.

The Wonder of Pregnancy

Our daughter is currently less than two weeks away from delivering her first child. It’s certainly been a long nine months for her. Not just because of the anticipation of having her first child, but also because her pregnancy has not been easy.

We see so many pictures in magazines and on TV featuring pregnant women who continue to work full time up to their due date, exercise daily, and do everything they used to do before getting pregnant, with seemingly no problems. For our daughter, this has not been the case. She has been sick the entire time; she’s been dehydrated and even hospitalized twice; there are very few foods she can eat without being nauseous; and by the seventh month, she was already having problems walking because of the excessive pain in her back and her hips.

And she’s only 27.

Pregnancy is not as easy for every woman as we’re led to believe. But she has gone though it, and will again, because she knows how much of an honor it is to bring a new life into the world. Pregnancy is indeed a miracle.

She’s heard all of my stories about my struggles with infertility and then with secondary infertility. She knows that as soon as a baby is conceived it is a human life. She also knows that not everyone is as lucky as she was to be able to easily conceive, even though the actual pregnancy itself has been so difficult. But knowing that doesn’t keep her from being miserable.

As her mother, I can’t help but worry about her. I’ve worried when she’s been sick all day. I’ve worried when she’s been dehydrated and going to the hospital. I’ve worried, yes, that something could happen to the baby. Even though I know in my heart, and in my head, that this little one is going to be just fine.

Mothers always worry about their children, no matter what age they are. It’s just what we do. And so will our daughter.

But two days ago, I discovered feelings that I didn’t even know I had. The actual realization that my daughter, the one I carried inside my own body, is carrying her own daughter inside of her. Yes, I knew that. But suddenly seeing her in a bathing suit for the first time this year, her swollen belly holding my granddaughter, I was suddenly struck with a new sense of both wonder and awe. I KNEW she was carrying a new life inside of her. My granddaughter was right in front of me…before my very eyes. Just hidden by her mother’s body.

The wonder of pregnancy is incredible when you stop to think about it. It is truly a miracle. From the moment of conception a mother is carrying another life; a life she alone is totally responsible for.

My daughter has been carrying a life that has been growing slowly inside of her for almost 240 days. We have actually seen her baby inside of her several times through the wonder of ultrasound technology. She has nourished that life on a daily basis; as she eats and drinks, so does her baby. She feels her baby move and kick, poking into her all the time now, because there’s not much room inside of my daughter for her daughter to grow any more.

My daughter’s daughter has grown and developed from just a few tiny cells into a multi-celled complex being that is her child. That is my grandchild. And yes, she was a human life from the time she was conceived.

May we never lose the idea of the wonder and the miracle that is involved in carrying a child. Because it is truly a gift from the Lord.

Just like our daughter. And our granddaughter. Both are our gifts from the Lord.

The Mother to a Mother of a Child

Anyone who’s following my blog, or who’s read more than two of my recent posts, most likely knows we’re about to become grandparents. We’ve had about seven months to get used to the idea, just like our daughter and son-in-law have had that time to get used to the idea of becoming parents.

I remember the excitement and anticipation I felt when I was expecting our daughter. We were nervous, excited, scared to death, and thought the time to deliver her would never get here!

Like Ashley and Chris, we used the time to get our daughter’s room all ready, buy cute baby clothes, and stock up on diapers. We counted down the weeks. And worried and wondered if we’d be good parents. And every day the realization of our upcoming change in status from merely husband and wife to parents was very obvious to me, because I was carrying our daughter inside me. I felt her move, I heard her heartbeat, and saw her inside of me as the ultrasound technician moved her wand over my expanding belly.

Every day was a constant reminder of the new life that was coming.

Image2But being an expectant grandparent is different. Because I’m now going to be the mother of a mother of a child. It’s actually sort of hard for me to wrap my brain around that. My daughter, the little girl I carried inside of me for nine months, who I gave birth to, is now going through the same thing. And she is getting ready to give birth to her own daughter very soon.

And that has made me stop and reflect on what that actually means.

It sounds so different to say mother of a mother of a child. Even though that’s what a grandmother is, if you have a daughter. But that’s actually what I’m going to be.

Image3As a mother I still tend to think of my daughter as still being a child – my child – rather in terms of her being an adult who is married. She’s already been a wife for over a year, but for some reason I have an easier time thinking of her being a married woman than I do thinking of her as a mother.

Because to me, her being a mother, her and her husband being totally responsible for a new life, means I have to look at my daughter in a new way. As an adult. And that’s something I’ve had a hard time dealing with. Not that she hasn’t been an adult for several years, but this is different. We’re entering a new stage in our mother-daughter relationship. It’s going to suddenly become more of an adult-adult relationship.

How’d she ever get old enough to be married, let alone have a child?

And now I’m becoming the mother of a mother of a child. How did I get old enough to graduate to that status?

Mom and MeI’ve often wondered over the past few months if my own mother felt this way when I was expecting. Did she wonder where the years had gone? Did she have to reconcile in her own way that her only child had now totally passed over the threshold of childhood, never to return again? Because my mother’s only daughter (me!) was becoming a mother herself.

And now that mother of that child is becoming a grand mother…the mother to a mother of a child.

I don’t know if I’m ready for this or not, but I’m certainly going to do my best. I may make mistakes, and so might our daughter. We all do in this parenting/grandparenting game.

But in the end, being a mother to a child is one of the very best things a woman can be. And being the mother to a mother of a child is an honor that I cannot even begin to imagine.

The baton is being passed down our family line once again, and now it’s my turn to be the one ready to impart my wisdom and years of life experience, not only to my daughter, but eventually to my daughter’s daughter when she grows into a young woman.

May the Lord bless all of us who are the mother (or father) to the mother (or the father) of a child.

A Grandmother’s Dream

I guess I’ve been writing so much about baby Rachel lately it was bound to happen again. And it did. With little Rachel’s entry into the world being so close it’s natural to dream about her.

The last time I had such a dream, or should I say the first time, in that dream baby Rachel was probably about 3 months old, because she was a lot bigger than a newborn, and she was holding her head up and looking all around.

In this dream though, she was a newborn, wearing her newborn pink and blue striped hospital cap, and swaddled in her pink and blue striped hospital blanket. She was tiny…tinier than most newborns, it seemed, but then again, I haven’t held many newborns lately. Or should I say I haven’t held my newborn granddaughter yet…except in my dreams.

Like I did a few nights ago. She was so soft, and so adorable! She looked so much like her own mother when she was born almost 28 years ago! I held her in my arms and was instantly in love! She was so beautiful…so tiny…here was my own daughter’s daughter. And I was holding her, cuddling her, and just looking at her in amazement while she looked back at me with enormous blue eyes and smiled the biggest smile I’d ever seen!

Then I was feeding her, and actually using the same baby bottles Ashley had showed me in her kitchen the other day. They certainly weren’t the kind I’d used for Ashley! So…..

However, there were two other parts of my dream I’m still amazed at. Perhaps because of my newest blog series, Letters from the Womb, in which baby Rachel is talking to her mommy, my subconscious mind was working overtime. Because in my dream I was having a conversation with my NEWBORN granddaughter, who was actually talking to me. In sentences. She was telling me she was hungry, and then she suddenly started talking about my mother. Her great grandmother. Who’s been gone almost ten years.

Now imagine how I felt when I turned my head, still holding baby Rachel, and I clearly saw my own mother sitting beside me. Little Rachel was talking to her as well, in fact they were planning a birthday party and giggling like two little kids!

So this sounds strange to you? Not to me, if you look at this dream with your spiritual eyes, rather than your earthly eyes.

You see, my granddaughter is being named after my mother, Ashley’s grandmother. My mother was a very important part of my daughter’s life, and losing her was terribly difficult for Ashley. You can read more about this in Another Rachel.

For several months after my mother passed away, I’d have dreams about her. Dreams in which she was still very much alive, still living in her own home. The dreams were so real I would wake up shaking, because for a few moments I thought they were real, and I was actually wondering how to tell her I’d given her clothes away, and how to tell her we’d buried her next to my father.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5

But this dream was different. Instead of being upset that my mom thought she was still alive when she wasn’t, in this dream seeing and hearing her talk to a newborn baby was quite natural. Because babies are a gift from the Lord. This speaks to me that our unborn babies’ spirits are living in heaven before their spirits are sent to live in their mother’s body, in the new life being created within her.

And since my own mother is living in heaven, I have no doubt she and my granddaughter have had many opportunities to connect and get to know each other. I have no doubt that baby Rachel communicated with my mother in the language of angels that is spoken in heaven.

And I have no doubt my mother is as thrilled and excited about our new granddaughter who is about to enter the world as we are! Because she already knows so much more about this little one than we do.

As I write this we are about five weeks away from meeting our granddaughter. My mother has already met her; talked with her; laughed with her; encouraged her; and loved her. Baby Rachel will bring a small part of her great-grandmother back into the world with her, along with her own unique personality and gifts the Lord has bestowed upon her.

I know when I look at this newborn baby for the first time, hold her, and look into her eyes, I will sense just a tiny part of my own mother’s love. All the way from heaven.

Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful dream!

Baby Shower Treats

You read a few weeks ago about my being a frustrated baker. Well this frustrated baker was busy again last week “baking” up goodies for our daughter’s baby shower. As well as actually concocting a few edible goodies as well.

My basic philosophy on doing special parties is, if you’re going to do it, make it special, and make it memorable. Pinterest is certainly one of my favorite inspirations, and I scoured through many, many different ideas before deciding on what to finally do…..

Since our Saturday blogs are usually about food, I’m not going to dwell on the decorating aspects. But I do have to say this “frustrated baker” had a great time creating edible as well as non-edible culinary delights! With a little help from a few friends with the actual REAL cakes!

In planning the shower, one of the first things I needed to decide on was how to make the food fit with the theme. And since the mom-to-be’s theme was “beach princess” it gave me a bit of a challenge to come up with the right names for the food. After all, you can’t just call them sandwiches and chips!

So the chicken salad croissants became “crabby croissants” with the addition of some handmade crab eyes. Gummy worms, one of the mom’s cravings, became gummy eels. Dipped pretzel sticks became pretzel fishing rods. Colored chocolate drops became sea pearls. And chips and dip…well, “take a dip” signs were very appropriate! Along with a bowl of goldfish crackers. The steamed shrimp, well that didn’t need a label! Homemade sand dollar cookies were also one of the desserts.

 

We were also blessed with two very special and delicious cakes! The beach princess cupcake dress was complete with a beachy mermaid crown, starfish tiara, and burlap shell and pearl sash, all of which will be utilized in Baby Rachel’s first photo shoot. The two-tiered beach cake made by one of the mom-to-be’s friends featured real painted shells, and a very special beachy hair bow, all of which we were careful to tell her NOT to eat!

 

But the two main non dessert items that this frustrated baker contributed were a fabulous (if I do say so myself!) four-tier diaper cake, as well as an array of diaper and onesie cupcakes.

I will share the “recipe” for my diaper cake below, but please, if you’re going to attempt one, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right the first time. It took me a few attempts to master the art. Feel free to email me if you have questions.

Recipe for Ashley’s Diaper Cake

90-100 newborn diapers
Paper towel roll (empty)
Curling ribbon
Decorative hat pins with colored heads
Decorative 1-1 ½” wide grosgrain ribbon
1 cake-shaped bank (from Target)
6-8 pacifiers in colors to match shower theme
Decorative baby socks, floral headbands, assorted ribbon flowers or silk flowers
String of decorative pearls (from craft store – I got mine from Hobby Lobby)
Paper crinkles
Clear plastic plate to “serve” cake on

I arranged the diapers in the bottom three tiers of a set of four tiered cake pans. Place ov2012-04-17_23-19-09_206erlapping diapers, 40 in bottom pan, 30 in next, and 20 in the next one. If you think you need a few more, add those as well. Tie tightly together with the curling ribbon so that when you “dump” them out, they won’t fall apart. As you take them out, place them on the cake plate with the paper towel roll in the middle to hold them together. You should easily stack three layers around one roll. For this particular cake I added a second roll, cut it the proper height, and stuck it in the other one. Be sure to use double sided tape on the bottom of the cake plate to attach the layers or it’ll slide off!

The floral bank was the top layer on this one, and I was able to stick it on the paper towel roll because of the hole in the bottom for the money. For the bank topper I’d found a princess tiara crown on a headband, and stuck the band part through the money slot on top. But you can be creative and find something equally as great.

Now that it’s assembled, decorate as desired. Use the grosgrain ribbon to wrap around the layers to hide the curling ribbon. Pin it together in the back of the cake with the colored pins.

Decorate with the pacifiers, socks, headbands, silk flowers, etc. Place the paper crinkles as “icing” between layers and around the base of the cake. Drape the decorative pearls in each layer, stuffing a bit of them between the layers to hold them in place.

Be creative! It’s fun! And if you need more help, there are lots of videos on line to assist you. And if you do make one, please let us see it!

Here are just a few more decorations! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! Remember, it’s our first grandchild!)

Such A Beautiful Baby

I had the most wonderful dream the other night.

There’s a song that says “…a dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep.” I believe that’s true in a lot of ways.

For those of you who’ve read some of my other stories, as well as those of you who know me quite well, you already know how much I enjoy piecing together the meaning of dreams. To me, dreams are often a beautiful tapestry that weaves itself together in front of my eyes as I’m resting.

Sometimes those dreams have a deeply hidden meaning that I enjoy dissecting, bit by bit, until I uncover that meaning.
Then there are the dreams like I had the other night. Just a peaceful, beautiful scenario that foretells a special event coming up in our lives.

And what are the chances that our daughter would have a very similar dream that same night, and in fact, had been having those similar dreams the entire week and had never told me?

Our daughter and her husband are expecting their first baby, our first grandbaby, in less than two months. To say we’re all excited is an understatement. And to have been blessed with the dream I had the other night is something I find difficult to put into words.

But of course, I’m going to try.

Imagine being a first time grandmother to be, who is getting more excited by the day at the prospect of soon being able to hold her first granddaughter. A granddaughter who is being named after my own mother, my daughter’s beloved grandmother.

In my dream I was actually holding our precious little Rachel Marie. She was in my arms. I could look into her face, see her beautiful big blue eyes, and her head full of light brown hair. I couldn’t help but just stare at her in amazement, as I held her, and cuddled her. And watched her smile up at me with the biggest grin I could imagine. My granddaughter. I can even describe the outfit she was wearing, although I haven’t seen it yet in any of the baby stores. It was yellow and coral, with little yellow ruffles on the bottom.

This little girl of my dreams was our precious gift. A special delivery directly from the Lord. I remember looking at her and thinking how my own mother actually met her before we did. Because I know my Mom had been caring for her little namesake in heaven until it was time for our new little Rachel to be born and come live with us. I imagined my mother kissing her little forehead, and handing her over to a special angel who would take her down to earth to her new earthly family. And I imagined my heavenly family smiling and rejoicing, knowing what a special, beautiful gift we were getting.

My dream faded softly as I woke up, and for a few minutes, I actually found myself looking around to see where baby Rachel was. And then I remembered. She hasn’t been born yet, except in my dreams.

Now imagine my surprise when our daughter Ashley texted me a little later and said she’d been dreaming all week that Rachel was already here. Only she hadn’t seen her yet in her dreams; in her dreams Rachel was sleeping in her nursey and Ashley was walking down the hall to get her. So Grandmom got to see her first. Yes, I think my daughter was a tiny bit jealous of that one.

Little Rachel will be here before we know it, although right now it seems like it’s taking forever. And I can’t wait to see how much she actually looks like she did in my dream.

And I know she is beautiful. Like her mother.

Another Rachel…

I didn’t really think I could be this excited. But I am. And I can’t help it.

A few weeks ago a friend commented on my blog post about the empty chair at the Thanksgiving table, that next year that empty chair will be filled with a part of my mother. How prophetically true that statement was, because, even though I’ve known in my heart almost from the day we found out about Ashley and Chris expecting a baby that it would be a girl, it was confirmed ten days ago.

Ashley had asked the doctors’ office to call me to tell me the sex, because she and Chris wanted to be together to find out in some kind of gender reveal event. I very seldom ever answer my cell phone if I don’t know who is calling, and when the call came in, I almost let it go into voice mail. But I thought it was a call from a doctor’s office to confirm an appointment, so I answered. It was a doctor’s office, but not the one I thought. I remember her telling me she had Ashley’s results and was I ready to get them?

Oh my gosh, she was calling two days early! Was I ready…I’d been ready since we found out there was a grandbaby coming! I held my breath…..and then I heard her say the chromosomes came out X…and X, which meant a girl! The stork is bringing us a girl! And this ornament is now proudly hanging on our Christmas tree!2015-12-06 11.08.55

I cannot even begin to express how I felt. I remembered how I felt when I found out Ben and I were going to have a little girl, and I was so excited to tell the world! I called Ben first, of course, and told him, and then I called my mother, who was almost more overjoyed than I was, if that was possible! Another little girl in her life to make clothes for, and buy little ruffled dresses for (which of course Ashley really didn’t want to wear, and let us know as soon as she could express herself)! A little girl she could play school with, and teach to cook…my mother was over the top excited, especially since she’d waited so long for her only child to have her own child! She was so excited, and since her friends knew how much this grandchild meant to her, they even gave her a surprise grandmother’s shower!

Since Chris was out of town on a tugboat in the Chesapeake Bay, we had to wait until he came back to do the reveal. I have to say this has been the hardest secret to keep that I’ve ever been entrusted with. Because I couldn’t tell anyone except my friend who made their wedding cake, since she was making a gender reveal cake for them, and of course the salesperson at the party store who put together the gender reveal balloon. But that really doesn’t count, because I couldn’t tell my husband, or my best friends, or even Chris’ mom who is also becoming a grandmother at the same time I am!

(Chris did tell me I could tell my cats, so all three of them knew as well, but since they’re cats and it doesn’t directly affect them, well, they really didn’t seem to care all that much!)

For the last ten days, everywhere I’ve gone I’ve seen people with babies. They seem to be everywhere. They also seem to be all girl babies, even though I know that’s not true. And I just keep thinking…oh my gosh, we are going to have one of those! Even shopping last Saturday for a few little gifts for the gender reveal, it hit me as I stood in line behind this lady buying a pile of fancy little girl clothes…Ashley and I are going to be doing that soon! I wanted to buy a little Christmas outfit so badly for her for next year, but I have no idea what size she’ll be by then…. With my luck it wouldn’t fit!

Now that I know what we’re having, it’s more real. I can call her by her name, instead of saying “the baby”. It’s so much easier to think of her now as a real little person. And yes, I would be thrilled whether we were getting a boy or a girl.

But there’s a very special reason I’m doubly excited about having a granddaughter.

Because Ashley and Chris are naming her Rachel, after my mother. AshBouquet Charmley and my mom always had a very special bond; perhaps it was because she was the long-awaited and ONLY granddaughter; perhaps it was because of how much my mother loved children. Or maybe it was because when your only child has a child of her own, it’s a feeling that nothing else can compare to. Ben and I gave Ashley my mother’s name as her middle name, and now the legacy of Rachel is being carried on for another generation. My mother would be so excited….but then again, she and my dad already know all about her….

To my friend who made that statement about the empty chair being filled with a part of my mother next year, you were totally right! In a way you didn’t even imagine!

And we all cannot wait until we meet little Rachel in May! We love her already!