Because You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
I was born on a crisp Wednesday morning— at 10:10AM to be precise, in the month of Noctober—I mean, October. I know this, because for the past 40 years, my grandmother has called on my birthday and regaled me with the majestic details of my birth.
My grandmother was only in her forties and established in her career as a teacher in the late 1970’s when I was born. A black woman teaching in an inner-city school, she was a beacon of light to many of her students—but a ray of sunshine to those who knew her best. And that was me.
“Deedle, did I tell you about the day you were born?”
“Yes Nana. Wednesday, Noctober 12th, at 10:10 in the morning….”
And the years marched on.
I was five and 16 and 22 and 39--
My hair went from short to long; from brunette to blonde to red to grey—and quickly back again.
I graduated and moved and married and moved and had babies and moved even further.
And Nana’s birthday calls never stopped. Actually, they increased because she added my husband and children—her great grandchildren to the list of birthday remembrances. To this very day, she faithfully and joyfully sends birthday cards packed with beautiful sentiments and little something to spend at the store— to everyone in our home.
And that’s the reason for this post, for the great joy that has comforted me. Because today, I’m a foster mom with a sweet child my Nana has never met—and probably never will.
But true to form, on her birthday there’s a card with beautiful sentiments and a little something to spend at the store, which to this child is no less than a fortune.
Because that’s who my Nana is.
She made life colorful to me—when parts were grey and drab. Allowing me to choose sugary-cereals for overnight sleepovers or drink a whole can of soda. She bought me back-to-school outfits and took me to my first symphony in a fancy dress. She told me stories—taught me poetry, inspired a love for writing too. She traveled from a little town in Southern Ontario, Canada to Chicago to care for my two older children while I delivered my third—not knowing that during that same week, another mother, in another part of the country—in very different circumstances was delivering a baby too---who would for a season be mine.
In a beautiful display of God’s sovereignty both my foster daughter and my youngest biological daughter are the same age with birthdays just days apart.
This means—among other things, she'll receive a birthday card from Nana too.
Nan—Thank you for sharing your fortune: time, talent and treasure with three generations of family, who call you Blessed.
"Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles and run with endurance the race set before you. "