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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Music for an Aging Woman

Monday, July 27th: We traded in our "clunker" for a new car, a hybrid. Not a moment too soon. The same evening, our son-in-law, Wayne, called from San Diego and told us to high-tale it out as soon as possible so we could witness Kiri giving birth to our first grandchild.
I thought I'd drive out by myself, but Bruce got permission from his boss to work off his computer. So we drove 1000 miles, remembering, thinking about life, praying for our little girl, who's all grown up, and for the little girl who'll be our granddaughter.
Hanging in my upstairs hall is a photo of my Norwegian grandmother taken ca 1900 when she was just 14. She stands in front of the family farmhouse outside Oslo, Norway, next to her siblings, mama, papa, and cousins I don't recognize. Nana's smooth, pretty face is set in a head-cocked, jaw-squared manner, a demeanor that persisted even into her older days. Her round, blue eyes gaze at the camera with naiive dreams of adventure and romance.
In a more modern frame, hanging inches to the right, a much older woman gazes into the camera. The same tilt of the head. Once auburn hair generously salted with white. Flanked on both sides are her four Norwegian-American sons, each uniformed in preparation for deployment to various war campaigns. It is 1942.
I am the same age as that small, pudgy, work-worn woman in the photograph. My life has not been as hard as hers. I did not marry at 16, bear 8 children, lose a child and a husband, and struggle through the Depression in poverty.
I think about the cycle of life: of being born, being young, being strong, being beautiful. How I'm caught up smack-dab in the middle. Neither young nor --thank God for HRT and cosmetics -- too old.
One day I'll look just like the white-haired Nana that I remember as a girl. My daughter will go through menopause and watch her beautiful daughter graduate from college. Makes me feel sad and happy all at the same time, like a beautiful and haunting piece of music.
Thursday evening, July 30th: I stand by my daughter's hospital bed and try very hard not to cry as she pushes little Kaya Victoria into the light and the doctor's gloved and capable hands.
Kiri is just shy of 21 and exceedingly gorgeous. She gazes at her baby with an expression God has given mothers. The same way I looked at Kiri. The same way Nana looked at my father.
Wayne hovers at every conceivable angle, over mother and baby, capturing the moment on his camera. One day, perhaps, in decades to come, their faces will gaze out from time-worn photos at clear-eyed children, curious about their ancestors.


  1. Dena,
    How beautiful that you could be with your daughter for the birth of her daughter.

  2. What a touching story. Thank you for telling it.