Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happiest of Birthday's Kirstie Girl

Eighteen years ago today was a day filled with intense sorrow and immense joy. It is the only day in my life where I struggled to balance the avalanche of emotions. On this day it marked a fabulous ending and a fabulous beginning. The ending was the the funeral for my Granny-the beginning was the birth of our Kirstie Girl.
My Great Grandmother, Fleeter Hill, raised my Mom. Fleeter lived a hard life, growing up in Alabama on a share croppers farm. She married when she was 12 and had a baby by 13, Aunt Mae. My Granny literally climbed up a mountain all of her life, overcoming obstacle after obstacle. Granny took my Mom home from the hospital to raise her because her mother, Pauline (Granny's daughter) could not raise her. I grew up knowing Granny, not as my Great Grandmother but just as my Granny. There will be a post dedicated to this lady.
Granny had a massive stroke in 1985 that left her paralyzed on the left side and without speech. She was not without life or character and that shone through until the day she finally gave the world a break and crossed over to comfort, joy, peace, and eternal rest after a long, hard, life. My Granny never took anything lying down and fought the world with a double fisted tenacity that I envy to this day.
Lucy struggled with fertility and had resigned herself to begin infertility treatment because they were just not successful on their own. She and her husband were going to take some time off and then begin the journey through the wilderness of infertility. We think that a Harley-Davidson colliding with a railroad track, speed bump, opened a small window of opportunity for Kirstie's creation. I believe it was Mother's Day (if it wasn't Mother's Day then it was Father's Day) 1987 that Lucy revealed to our family that she was with child. Her pregnancy was tough, she miscarried Kirstie's twin and was confined to bed for the remainder of her pregnancy. Granny had been in and out of the hospital with various bouts of illness all through Lucy's pregnancy. But we never knew that we were going to have a day like we would on February 20th.
I basically moved in with my Sis. I continued to babysit the children she cared for so she could continue to get the income, cooked, cleaned, ironed, did laundry, and just loved her. She and I really wove our relationship into the tight mesh that it is today during this time. I would not trade that time for anything in this world.
The day of my Granny's funeral was insane. All of the funeral relatives had arrived and were feverishly trying to reconnect. In my family, we only came together for funerals and at no other time. When my Uncle Raymond (the only child of 13 that my Granny didn't have to bury) died we saw the last of the funeral relatives because we had exhausted the "family" that drew us together. Everyone was telling stories and reminiscing about Granny each one laying a different tile in the mosaic of her life. Everyone was at our house and there was a bustle everywhere, people in the yard in the kitchen in the den in the family room--everywhere. I had snuck down stairs to my fortress of solitude to hide from reality and heard the phone ring. It was Doug, Lesa had gone into labor and Kirstie and she were in danger. Mom and Dad teleported to the hospital to be there for their baby girl. I was left at home with all of the funeral relatives. To say I was out of my element is a gross understatement. I had relatives trying to blow up our microwave by making fast tea in a gallon jar. There was no way I could control any of them because I didn't know who had weapon's and who didn't.
Saying goodbye to my Granny was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I spent the better part of my childhood with her, she was my primary baby sitter and most favorite "spend the night place" next to my Robba, and was in a deep state of depression that I would never again be with her. I still miss the year round blast furnace heat of her house, the feel of flanel, her thin, cool wrinkled skin, the reminisint smell of tobacco juice (she chewed "backy" Good Money woven tobacco) and coffee that filled her house. So many scent memories, so many memories period. The feather bed...oh the feather bed.
Saying hello to my Kirstie-girl was awesome. I am unclear on the exact time that I actually came to the hospital to see Sis and KL. I believe it was the day after the funeral and I came from work. That seems right. "Here she is, bud!" "Hi, Kirstie--I'm your uncle Will. We'll be very good friends you and me and you will never go through anything alone because I will be there for you." I brought my Sis carnations, her favorite and some "baby" carnations as well for the Kirstie girl. I also brought KL an Enesco "Growing Up" baby and have continued to gift those to her every year up to her 16th; there is only one more left the graduation doll that comes in April.
Kirstie is so feisty, so sweet, just a joy to be around. We were tight, except when I tried to comb her hair and fix a style for her. Every other time we were buds. She called me Unkie and has ever since. Kirstie embodied the feisty spirit of Granny, almost as if their spirits passed each other--Granny on her way up and Kirstie on her way down--and connected. She is tough, smart, and gentle all at the same time, just like Granny. I was so proud of her as a baby, as a toddler, as a young girl, and now as a young woman. She has really set the bar high for herself and manages to leap over those with ease and grace.
We began making sugar cookies together on Christmas eve and leaving them out for Santa. I loved making cookies with her. One of Kirstie's greatest loves is eating. She embraces carbs and sweets with warm affection like welcoming a long lost relative home again. Mashed potatoes and home made rolls buckle her knees. Ever since she was a tiny baby she would emit this moan that signaled to all of us that she had been satisfied and our scramble was over. Whether buying shoes, trying on swim suits, looking for the right Barbie, the lost shoe for Barbie, you name it when she gave the moan you knew the girl had been satisfied.
I left for college when she was three or four and missed every major milestone much to my dismay. Now that we are close enough to be together for dinner I don't miss a thing. We spend a lot of time together and have such a great relationship. She is truly my pride and joy and I love her with all of my heart.
She graduates this year and closes a chapter that I wish was not months away but years, just so I could selfishly hold on to a little more of the girl I love. The journey she begins after graduation will take her to places I do not yet know. I do know that road she will walk has been paved with a deep love for the Lord, and a smart savvy in the true spirit of Granny and Lucy. I have often wished that Kirstie could sit close to Granny as her tired yet strong hands ran through the silky smooth pony tail as those hands did with Lucy was her age. I long for the times that Granny would embarrass Lucy and I to the point of death because it is so much fun to embarrass KL. What Kirstie missed in not knowing Granny she has made up in allowing her Mom to be her best friend because there is no truer champion than to have Lucy in your corner.
Happiest of birthday's sweet girl. Your Unkie loves you and admires the future you have but admires you more for the woman you are. I love you.