Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happy B'day Stephanie

This day - March 26 - twenty-three years ago was the best day of my life. Around 7am Stephanie rushed into my world, forever changing me. I had never known how much I was capable of loving because I'd never loved anything like a loved that pink bundle of warm flesh. She was so beautiful and so willing to let me comfort her, love her, be her everything. I gladly stepped up to the plate as her protector, defender, nurturer. I didn't know until March 26, 1985 how much love my heart was capable of. I never knew anything so powerful, so pure, so beautiful. Have I ever told you all just how precious that little girl was? She was everything any mother could ever want in a little girl.

I remember when her Aunt Doobie (that would be my best friend Debbie) took her to Quality Shoe Store and bought her a size 0 pair of Nikes. Back in those days, she was cutting edge. It seems everyone does the designer shoe thing now, but Stephanie was the first baby I knew who wore Nikes. She was unaware of how cute she was, but where ever she went people owhhed and awhhed about her cute shoes. When she outgrew those, Debbie took her and bought her another pair. Man, was Stephanie ever proud of those. I remember her sitting in the passenger seat of Debbie's Camaro. I walked up to the car and Stephanie about threw her back out trying to show me those shoes. And she was sporting a huge smile.
When Stephanie was just getting secure in her walking skills, she stepped off the curb in front of our church cutting her lip. (Five kids later I know that was hardly worth the fuss, but it was a huge deal then). It was her first injury and I was so afraid her psyche was forever damaged. I hadn't protected her and somehow this would always be at the root of all her problems. (I was reading some distressing books that addressed things like that.) I cried, she cried. I felt like I'd failed her by not protecting her better. I was wearing a newer white dress. Her bloody lip was ruining my dress. I was aware of it but marveled that it didn't matter.
She was bright, curious, outgoing, and she was absolutely secure in her knowledge that she was amazing. It never crossed her mind that strangers thought any less of her than her fan club. We often went to Fish Net on Friday nights. When we'd finish eating and begin our exit Stephanie would head to the tables nearest us to say "Bye-bye" and give kisses. I had to intercept or she would kiss everyone there.
She was also curious and a wee-bit into everything. Once at Fish Net when she was beginning to learn the ropes about "decorating" her own baked potato, she insisted (she was stubborn and viciously independent too) that she be left alone to figure it out. She gnawed and clawed at the sour cream packet and evidently succeeded in puncturing it. I know that because when she finally set it on the table to give it a ferocious pound, the sour cream shot out headed east and landed in a pile of hair two tables over. The lady had a big doo caked in hair spray. She felt something in her hair and Kent and I watched in horror as she started patting her doo with impeccably done up hands complete with fake nails and real diamonds. She patted within an inch of the sour cream but never touch it. We held our breath and kept telling Stephanie to shhhh about it. She was totally captivated with the sour cream in the big hair and it was a blessed relief when the lady left the restaurant. (Looking back I don't know why we didn't just tell the lady. She didn't appear the gracious kind. She was un-approachable-looking and I guess that's why.)
At four Stephanie became a big sister. One of my favorite memories of that day is her happiness. Her Grandma Ninky brought her to the hospital. While helping Stephanie out of the car, she noticed Stephanie shaking. She asked her if she was cold and Stephanie responded, "No I's just es-sided (excited). We still say "I's just es-sided" when it fits. I am perfectly convinced Stephanie was the best big sister there ever was. She loved Christopher with fervor and still does.
Sometimes on Thursday mornings, she'd go to Sunshine House while I went to Bible Study. Once when I picked her up she was thrilled that she'd got lunch there. I asked her what she had for lunch and she said with a pronounced drawl, "HorMel chili." (That's another thing I repeat: When someone ask what's for supper, sometimes I answer "HorMel Chili.")
I think I could tell Stephanie stories for hours, but time doesn't allow. She still has all the qualities that she had as a child, but much more subdued. Now she's the mama with the little guy to dote on. I enjoy her doting very much. It will be interesting to see if Roman is as into everything like his mama was. I love her. She still refreshes my spirit like no one else can. She's a delightful person.
Stephanie, I wish you the merriest birthday and happiest year ever. You are one of the reasons I was put on the earth - to make sure you got here. I love you with all my heart.

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Blogger Steph said...

You know mom of all the things said to me on my birthday and all the fun I had eating out with everyone --this was the thing that made my day. I told you I couldn't wait to read what you would write. Thank you Thank you. I love you very much!!!

March 27, 2008 at 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

steph we are in chicago and i just rad your mom's wonderful blog -happy birthday to you! and many more....

March 27, 2008 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Jones said...

what a great tribute to a beautiful daughter, you are very blessed. i love the story about the lady with the fake nails and real diamonds, too funny!

March 28, 2008 at 12:12 AM  
Anonymous *mindi* said...

oh i just love it! such great memories and stories!
happy birthday steph :)

March 31, 2008 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to your daughter! It was a pleasure to read it and remember my own when they were little... I have three over 20 and four younger. I love the story about the sour cream in the fancy doo... you had me laughing out loud. But reading it while trying to eat my supper was so totally the wrong time... LOL!!

April 1, 2008 at 9:46 PM  

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