My answers vary from year to year, but they invariably have one thing in common when my girls ask what I want for my birthday. They don’t cost a dime.
This year, I said I wanted to hear the sound of their voices. We text a lot. According to my phone bill last month, I sent around 800 text messages — 90 percent or more to my girls. Consequently, we rarely talk, only about once a week.
I miss the sound of their voices and all the things they share when one topic leads to another in conversation. Too, no matter how many times they text, “Love you,” it’s not the same as hearing the words.
Last year, I wanted something altogether different. I wanted healthy grandbabies.
Sara was expecting twins, and the goal was for her to carry them into October. We all knew the November due date wasn’t going to happen, but we also knew they needed to stay with their mommy as long as possible.
The girls, though, decided they didn’t want to make Gramma wait for her present. Sara called me early on Sunday, Sept. 12, just four days after my birthday, to tell me she was in the hospital. Neither of us used the dreaded word — labor. Instead, we talked about what the medical professionals were doing to stop contractions.
Thus, a very long day began. My daughter was hospitalized in Arizona. Her husband was at a flight show in Saint Louis, and I was sitting in Lake Preston, South Dakota. I sewed and prayed and prayed and sewed.
I was making the girls’ quilts. I had knitted them each a blanket, thinking the other gramma would make quilts. I learned when I visited Sara in August that she wanted her girls to have quilts her mommy made, so we picked out the fabric together. That day those quilt tops were stitched with love and prayers.
God bless the U.S. Air Force. When Brodie learned his girls were going to make their entrance into the world, arrangements were immediately made for him to leave the flight show. Air space was cleared for him to take off and he flew his A-10 home. He went straight to the hospital and was wearing his flight suit when the girls were born.
Avery weighed in at 3 pounds, 15 ounces. Paige was the larger, coming in at 4 pounds, 9 ounces. Ironically, the doctor mixed them up at birth, so they didn’t get the names their parents planned when Sara was expecting. By the time we learned that several days later, we were so grateful they were healthy, we didn’t care.
I held them for the first time a few weeks later and fell completely in love. When I had to leave after two weeks, I cried for 45 minutes, all the way from the house to the airport. The separation was breaking my heart.
So much has happened since then. Sara separated from active duty Air Force and joined the Air Force Reserves. Brodie received orders for a slot at Beale AFB in northern California. First, he had training in San Antonio, Texas, so the family moved there for a couple months before taking up residence in California.
Paige and Avery learned all kinds of things and progressed from a couple ounces of milk every couple hours to solid foods. They have teeth now and big smiles and get into everything they can. By the time I see them in November, they’ll probably be walking.
As for me, I moved from Lake Preston to Custer where I discovered a wonderful church family and began building new friendships. Through the summer months, I attended performances at the Black Hills Playhouse, concerts at the 1881 Courthouse Museum, and other functions in town. It’s been a rich and heady experience!
But change is on the horizon. I anticipate, though, that it will be good, because God is good and my life is in his hands.