Category Archives: Family Notes

Resting in confusion

Three weeks into a rest period, I find myself in confusion.  I am so used to operating on a schedule and knowing my goals, this pause in that life is very uncomfortable.

I am so fortunate to have family and friends–personal and professional, who know how confusing this time is for me and know that I want to race through rest to the next step.  This set of family and friends just keep telling me to rest.

This morning a second visit to Rev. Jim Downing’s church filled me again.  True it is a 30 mile drive, but going in and feeling comfortable among no one I know is evidence of how the Holy Spirit can make it feel like family.

For the past 10 years, I have organized my life around my work.  First I was a teacher, especially in an alternative setting; but then I added in part time pastoring.  The pressure to maintain all that I needed for both jobs just seemed natural.  Then I retired from the teaching profession.

Now retiring from one’s lifetime career is stressful enough.  I have now realized retirement really means being “really tired.”  I still had the church as a part time job, but I was used to full time work.  I probably used as much time now for the part time job, and worked hard to rest in the evenings.  Not easy

Speeding forward through the past three years, I am now trying to rest.  Not really retired, just working at resting.  And naturally, resting leads one to see all the daily household chores and postponed projects now have no reason to put off.  So, I am finding that rest can still be elusive.

In our Midwestern lifestyle, there seems to be a sense that one must work every day in order to achieve their goals.  I did not grow up knowing how to ‘play.’  Life on the family farm meant there were always chores.  We did stop on Sunday, though, and rest.  Even this concept is lost in our farming culture today–now farming is 24/7.

Rest.  I am learning that to rest, I have to give myself permission to rest.  I have to close off my ears to the internal yelling about all the work there is to do.  I also have to turn off the clock.  I have no reason to rush ahead, but my internal clock says I have such a limited time frame to use for rest even though I have NO time frame at all.

So here I am in week three of my rest, and I am confused.  Thank goodness my family and friends know me well enough to accept my confusion in this time of rest, but also know me well enough to reprimand me when I start tressing out over the timeframe.

One of my personal goals in this time of rest is to figure out how to listen to God.  I must quieten myself enough to recognize his voice.  This week I read a book by Adam Weber, Talking with God.   I started it and could not stop, finishing it in one day.  I separated myself so much from my typical day that I heard God.  I found energy.  I recognized Mom’s voice, too.

Thank you, Adam Weber, for such a clear discussion of talking with God.  I know what it is to be exhausted.  I know what it is to have unconditional love.  I know how hard it is to wait.  Your work spoke to me and speaks for me.  I know God speaks through your words, too.

One of the results of reading this is a driving desire to share this understanding from Adam Weber with others.  I wanted to buy a case of the books and start sending them off to others who I wanted them to know/experience this conversation.

Maybe this is what rest is.  Maybe I need to give myself permission to read–without a highlighter in my hand or note papers to record on.  Maybe I need to share what I read via the blog or Twitter.  This is all part of my process.  Rest in the moment also means being alert to how God can use me in those moments.

I may be assigned a period of rest, but my confusion still needs to be decluttered.  I guess I must remember that there is no timeline other than God’s.  Thank you to Rev. Downing, Rev. Weber, and my family and friends for helping me make my way to refreshment and renewal during this extended, uncertain time of rest.

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Decoration/Memorial Day Thought

As I prepared the sermon, I started remembering how our family handled Memorial Day, which we called Decoration Day.  The day was a process–beginning in the morning picking flowers from our own yard.  No purchased ones were ever used and I never remember not having fresh ones available.

The next step was wrapping old Folgers coffee can with aluminum foil, filling them with the flowers and then water–enough to get to the cemetery before we added more there.  The flowers filled the trunk of the car and then for the next step.

My memory includes picnics.  Mom would pack the picnic basket–now sitting in my dining room with one broken handle–with either fried chicken or ham.  No potato chips, instead there would be potato salad and/or deviled eggs.  At least that is what I remember.

Then off we would all go–all four of us.  No one stayed home as this was a family event.  We started in Middletown.  I remember it because that is where Ote West was buried, along with his wife.  Our farm had been his, but when he died, it became Dad’s.  And with each grave, came the stories. Little did I know the value of the stories then as I do now.

From Wellsville, we drove to Millersburg where Mom’s birth mother and an older brother are buried along with others from her family.  This is where we learned of the heartbreak Mom experienced having lost her mom when she was only 2 1/2 years old and growing up to know she had had an older brother, too.  What we did not know until 1980 was that her mother had been pregnant when she died.  But the stories continued.

As I remember, we often had our picnic at Dixie Lake which is only a few miles from the Millersburg Cemetery.  In terms of a lake, it is rather small by my adult standards, but as a young girl it was huge.

After lunch, we drove back to Montgomery City’s cemetery where Dad’s family was buried.  There were more graves to visit here, but Dad’s family was much larger.  One memory is of my cousin Sally’s family.  She was the only infant to survive due to RH factor.  The graves of the babies are not an accurate reflection of that heartbreak as some were turned over for scientific study.  But the story is laid out along the rows of graves in that cemetery along with aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, and now even our own parents.

Today I live on the other side of the state.  Trips to the cemetery are far and few between.  The cemetery is a location, but the spirits are always present.  I rather miss the traditions and being able to share the stories I learned from decorating the graves, but location determines many decisions.

I know that Memorial Day is really designed to honor the veterans, but for me it is honoring the history of my family.  We did not have many who were veterans as most were farmers and escaped being drafted.

One uncle did serve in World War II and suffered from malaria off and on during his life.  Plus my dad and his cousin Donald did enlist at the end of World War II when the draft called them.  (Enlisting rather being drafted reduced the months of service.)  Later his brother also served.  Yet they returned home to continue farming until their lives ended in a non-combat manner.

Today, the Tuesday after, I wonder if I should have made the drive across state to visit the cemeteries.  No.  My memory always honors those who have gone ahead.  The cemetery is just a place.  My decoration is the life I now live honoring them in who I am.  I am sure they know.

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A Mother’s Loss

The following Letter to the Editor was published today, April 27, 2018 in the Kansas City Star.  I wrote it after reading the tribute to Barbara Bush on April 21.  The essay/editorial struck a cord that is worthy of noting.  Please read.  Thank you to the KC Star for including it in today’s edition.

Mary Sanchez’s sympathetic and empathetic column concerning Barbara Bush is a testimony to the strength of character not only of Mrs. Bush, but her mom and all of us who experience the loss a child. (April 21, 11A, “Remembering Barbara Bush, grieving mother”)

My experience was a miscarriage of twins. But that was half a century after Robin Bush’s death and Sanchez’s mother’s first late-term loss. I was fortunate to have a community that understood it was a loss and allowed me to grieve.

Another generation later, our daughter-in-law lost a daughter, Faith, at 17 weeks. Fortunately, she was supported by a medical team that understood the need to allow her and her husband time with the daughter.

Loss is painful, but grieving is a process that one must experience, and a medical team that understands that need is exceptional.

Sanchez’s words and her insight concerning Mrs. Bush are evidence that our culture is learning to honor painful life experiences appropriately. Thank you for sharing such a personal and perceptive tribute to Mrs. Bush, but also to your own mom and all mothers who know the loss of a child all too soon.

Susan Annette Smith Warrensburg

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Back home

IMG_2003Over the weekend, we traveled through six states.  We followed what had been a rare southern winter storm, seeing as much as 10 inches of snow outside of Padukah, Kentucky and finding that Florida really can be cold, too.  What a treat it can be to step away from a daily routine, but coming back home is also a treat.

The hours and hours in the car can be exhausting, but also productive.  Getting home, the routine quickly kicks in and yet there is new energy to do those daily chores that seem so tedious.

The traffic can be overwhelming and leaves one a sense of claustrophobia, yet the traffic teaches us the power of patience and forgiveness, too.  And then, coming home the traffic seems to be no problem at all.

The speed of the trip did not allow for sightseeing, but seeing the many miles of road shows many interesting things.  For instance, we were very impressed by the fences that line the highways of Florida.  Very little roadkill was visible and the idea seems so logical, especially when crossing back into Missouri we can hardly travel a mile without roadkill.

The miles that we traveled were also tree-lined.  So much of the highway system along these states were literally lined with trees, especially pine trees.  I also was surprised how many miles of the interstate also had a barrier of trees between the two separate lanes–whether east and west or north and south.  The tree-lined highway makes the insanity of traffic less stressful–at least for me as a passenger this time.  Back home, the interstate system really is not tree-lined.  Of course that is environmentally natural, but I certainly appreciate the miles that are cedar-lined or Ozark oak-lined.

The hospitality of the South is also evident.  The clerks and the servers that greeted us as we made refueling and food stops is refreshing.  Only once did we run into a questionable situation and that was in our home state as we departed.  The host seated us, but we never were served.  We literally had to get up and leave.  Fortunately, we did not ever have to do that again.  In fact, the service we had at the stops after that were delightful.

The food.  Maybe there really is nothing more to say, other than one goal we make on our trips is to avoid the typical chain restaurants that exist around our home, and to really get a taste of the region.  We had two meal stops, on the way home, that were outstanding.  One in Tallahassee at Wahoo Seafood and a second in Marion, Illinois at 17th Street Barbecue.  There is no way to explain the exceptional taste of those stops except I would plan a trip back just to enjoy those flavors again.  Back home, for instance, I tied to make homemade mac and cheese to match the one in Tallahassee.  Close, but not quite.

The point of the trip was a graduation ceremony.  In today’s world of on-line education, all too often the students do not opt to join in a graduation ceremony.  But we made the decision to invest in the ceremony and I am glad we did–despite the long hours in the car.

Celebrating life events has a value that cannot be explained logically, but psychologically it is wise.  I was so impressed by the Walden University’s skill at putting on a ceremony that pulled together hundreds (I have no idea of the final count) of graduates–bachelors, masters, specialists and doctorates–to celebrate with family and friends.

The graduation speaker was Soledad O’Brien.  What a treat for me.  Soledad has been a journalist I enjoyed and had lost track of her.  Seeing her name as the speaker, I looked forward to listening to her.  She was real, honest, personable, and professional.  No boredom at all and great words to mull over in the days, weeks, months ahead.

Thank you, Walden.  You made the experience personal and impressive from the check-in to the following reception.  You have let us return home with memories.

But today, I am back home and have finished catching up the laundry.  Today the goal is to return to the ‘work’ routine that I need to re-establish.  The trip provided new experiences and a winter-time break, but now back to daily life–mac & cheese, puppy love, laundry and all.  What a treat the weekend road trip was, but back home looks pretty good, too.

 

 

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A New Year’s Surrender

I surrender!

Here it is New Year’s Eve, 2014, and I did not finish all my Christmas cards.  The intentions were good, but completion unsuccessful.

Now, granted, the year really had no major transitions, no major calamities, or no major successes; but that does not mean it was so nondescript that I should ignore it.

This creates a dilemma:  Do I go ahead and write an annual letter or do I simply skip it?

My head tells me I should write at least a year-end wrap up and send it out, but time is speeding past me and I just do not seem to have the drive to do it.

Therefore, I surrender.

Instead of the usual written, signed, sealed, addressed letter, here is my year-end report:

  • Winter began the year and ended the year.  Cold.  Who knows about the snow, why I can’t really remember how it went but we did have snow days that extended the school year a little too much.
  • Spring came in with Lent so hope revived with the first jonquils and the tiny little buds on the trees.  In fact, spring renews our lives mentally and physically.  Whew!  We survived winter.
  • The calendar says Summer comes in during June, but all teachers, students and their families know that it really begins as soon as the last class lets out in Spring.  The snow days lead us through the very end of May this year and with only one full day to close it out and then jump into the UMC Annual Conference mindset.
  • Summer, to be honest, was delightful.  The temperatures were mild, very little watering was needed for the flower beds, and some flowers bloomed that I had not anticipated after the last couple of dry years.  Why my brand new oak-leaf hydrangeas bloomed in their first year.  The blooms were almost as big as the plant!
  • Summer is such a respite.  I thrive with sunshine and warmer temperatures, the flower gardens, and even the pets outside with me while sitting in my swing.  Of course, structure is good for me and I am thankful we maintain a fairly solid routine with Bruce going to work and I continue with the weekly preparation for Sunday’s worship.
  • Summer brought about a bi-annual event–the Winter Cousin Reunion.  This year it was in Albuquerque, NM, and we made it!  Granted we did it in an extended weekend, but we added a few extra stops–Harley Davidson dealerships.  I think we only missed Amarillo because it was not open as we pulled out that morning.  And we did add in Santa Fe as we were making excellent time so took a northerly jaunt to Santa Fe.  We had a great meal in Old Town before we found the Harley dealer.
  • Now lets reflect on the reunion.  What a delight!  We are trying to maintain a 2-year pattern alternating between Missouri and new Mexico. I am so proud of my brother and sister(-in-law) for spearheading this, and Fred’s family commandeering it this year.  I loved it!  It meant so much to me and I thank God for the blessings of my family.
  • Vacationing is often wiped out by family responsibilities or financial challenges or work conflicts.  Yet, vacationing is educational, refreshing, exciting, and all too often ignored.  Our society has not done a very good job of encouraging workers to use their vacations and we succumb to a range of reasons why not to go on a vacation.  I suppose if I really did have a bucket list, I would have to add in one vacation of at least 4-nights a year.  (Really I would love two, but I do need to be real.)

Well, I had better get back to the year. It is so easy to begin reflecting on social issues.  Maybe a section of mine should be comments.

  • July is summer.  On the 3rd, we marked our 15 year anniversary.  On the 4th, Bruce’s grandma reached the grand age of 100, even with a recently broken hip.  There were other major birthdays and events, too, and the reunion.  Finally, though, the month ended with a decision:  we traded all the bikes and the trailer in for a HD Trike.  Wow!  What a difference that has made.  Vacations may not always be 4-nights, but the Trike may make a huge change in our mindset.  It is delightful!  Fresh air everywhere.
  • August ends educators’ summer.  This year the opening day of school moved up even more.  Students reported on August 16!  For me, returning to the school schedule and routine is healthy.  I cannot explain why, but I simply do much better when I know what time I have to get up, when to report to school (7:15 am), and when I get home (after 2:45 pm).  If I do better with the schedule, doesn’t it make sense that even kids do, too?
  • Autumn begins with school opening, not Sept. 20-21.  It brings about the Chilhowee Fair, which is a major event, and usually great weekend rides.  The weather this autumn made riding a bit more challenging but we did not have the multiple days of 100s in the summer and the fall rides were mild.  We did try a new restaurant off Hwy 13 S and took a ride through the Truman Lake back roads which was a highlight.  The last ride we took was in November with just jackets.  Pretty great.
  • Then Winter cycles back.  November was mild, but the insanity that begins during that month was heightened by the very short Advent season.  My head just spins as we go from Thanksgiving through Christmas, well really New Years.  I just learn that I must go day by day with just a peek at the calendar.  When it comes to a sudden stop, I real.  This time with a tummy ache and I did not even have any egg nog.

There are a couple of special notes to add in.  I trust our kids understand how proud we are of them and this is our way to tell the world.

  • Bruce’s son Jeremy has joined the civilian world moving from Oklahoma City just two weeks ago.  They are now living in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Of course, we must also announce that Haven and Jeremy had a third child in May–Hope was born May 27 and Bruce did get to be there (I was in school).  Their lives have been a whirlwind in the past six months, but all is good.
  • My son Jordan started 2014 off in fine family form.  He and Brandi had Andrew Cole on January 3.  I was fortunate that she had him right here in the Burg so got to go see him shortly after he was born.  So cute!  Red hair on that head.  To top all this off, Jordan bought a house in Trimble, MO and they have all moved in during the summer months and Aidan Mae started school in Plattsburg.  What a fun time!
  • Vada continues teaching kindergarten and running the before and after school program so her day begins about 7 am and ends anywhere from 4 to 6 pm–long hours and tough days (Teachers:  you know the rule of 7).  Chris also resumed a role he knows–school board member–in Chilhowee.  Add to their lives the grandkids–Aiden and Tegen (a third is on the way).  When they spend time with Papa and Vada, we get to be “great-grandparents.”

My one frustration is the lack of seeing family.  The face of our family changes so quickly with deaths and births.  I am thankful for the internet as we get to check in, but I fear sitting around a dinner table or on a porch is a lost art.  Please keep posting, keep journals, keep the calendars filled-in with firsts because it is important.  History will be thankful that you do, not to mention your own family’s generations.

You all know me, I can get wordy.  Unfortunately I am forced to SURRENDER.  I am posting this as a blog and publishing it so the family knows how much I love them, how proud I am of them, and I am sorry I did not get this out as a Christmas card.

For family and friends, I am going to try printing this out, too, and try to get a few in the mail.  If I fail, it is because I was forced into a full surrender. The calendar beat me.

 

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Identity in a Name

This is the third essay written this summer.  I have additional topics to write, but the lack of time to complete them.  Somewhere along the line, I will get it done. 

Every individual has a name.  This title becomes a beckoning call, a sound registering discipline, a connection to unknowns, yet it is your very own name that will identify you in an infinite number of ways.

Naming a child is a responsibility that parents take seriously—or should.  The name develops an identity that follows its holder for a lifetime.  It is sometimes positive and other times negative.

When the second pregnancy became viable, and the child began developing its own personality (and they do in utero) the process begins to identify just who this little person is going to be.  The criterion is established and for me it was clear:  it had to be family-based and it had to have meaning.

Murray Jordan McCrary was the result of a dictated initial structure and a compromise in order to avoid adding another Jim or John to the family tree.  The pattern was M. J. McCrary that was to be preserved.

During the 1980’s no definite predictions or decisions were made to the sex of the coming baby, so locating a name usually meant finding two names.  Oddly enough, I do not remember ever trying to decide on a girl’s name.

The MJ initials had not been maintained in the family and since Grandpa Murray had died in 1978, there had not been a male child born to take on that name.  Therefore, the struggle began to find a name for this child, who most certainly was going to be a boy.

The weeks were slipping past, and one day I got home from school first.  I picked up the baby name book and began yet another search of “j” names.  In a short time, because your dad was home shortly, I read Jordan.  I read the meaning of the word, and then read the meaning of Murray.  I knew then, I had found the name and I could hardly wait for your dad to get home.

Let me explain:  Murray means sailor, Jordan represents the river.  Therefore, Jordan was to be a sailor on the river.  Additionally, Jordan means descended which placed a clear relationship to the genealogical connection to his grandfather whom he would never know.

I was in the kitchen getting supper together when your dad got home.  I had laid the book down in the living room.  When your dad got home, he went right into the front room, and in a short time, he yelled it out, “What about Jordan?”

Dropping supper preparation, I went into the front room and realized there was nothing left to decide.  Murray Jordan McCrary was a name that provided an identity, connected the generations, and had just a great sound to it.  I could not have been happier.

And family connections are important.  The name is one’s personal label; it becomes part of one’s identity.  The meaning of the name pulls on all of mankind’s history.  The name shouts out inventions, historical decisions, eras, and—unfortunately—tragedies, horrific behaviors and more.  M. Jordan McCrary would not be forgotten but only the future would determine the reason.

Neither would a sister who came along two years later.  Having lost the twins in the first pregnancy and knowing that the possibility of twins was very real due to the use of Clomed, choosing a name meant choosing two names.  And choosing two names in 1985 meant choosing four names because identifying the sex of the baby was not an option yet.

Therefore, selecting the names this pregnancy was a much more detailed process, and sadly the names are slipping from my memory.  I know one was Simon Christian and a second was Isaac Samuel, I believe.  The girls names were Suzanna Mae and Vada Elizabeth.  Or at least those are the four names that I remember 28 years later.

Keeping the criteria was still important—family and meaning.  But with only one little girl born, the names choices boiled down to Vada Elizabeth.  Your dad wanted a first name that would be easy for Jordan to say, remember he was only two at this time, and I wanted to use Elizabeth for my mom.

Looking for the first name was the challenge.  There was too many names which are reused too often, and none seemed to meet the criteria.  Then your dad shared the story of his great aunt, Vada.

Aunt Vada was known for her style, for her cooking, and for her upbeat way of doing things.  Living as a farmer’s wife in northwest Missouri, the stories of her included some special descriptions:

  • she was a great cook,
  • wherever she went, she would run rather than walk,
  • she was a stylish dresser (shopping in St. Joe as the top of the line stores),
  • and she always had a smile on her face.

Even though I never met Aunt Vada, I felt that the stories gave me a great picture of who she was.  Her identity was probably not going to be duplicated, but if it could influence this little girl in a positive way—it was the perfect choice.

Add the meanings to the name, the combination of the two were full of promise:

Vada means the truth while Elizabeth “consecrated to God.”  The decision was made, Jordan could easily say Vada, and the due date approached.

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Birth Place

This is a second essay written this summer.

North Kansas City Hospital:  the birthplace of both kids.  Did you know that each person’s social security number identifies where each person is born?  I didn’t, but having two kids and discovering how similar their numbers are lead me to ask that question.

I was not born in a hospital.  I was born in a two-story frame house that was the Wellsville Clinic.  Mom told me the story of my birth and I realize that it could easily be lost in relation to births today.

When she went into labor, she was not sure what was going on when the water broke.  She woke Dad up and explained what had just happened and he, in his typical matter of fact manner, said, “Well, if you were a cow, you are going into labor.”

Timing was never part of the story, but they made it to Dr. Walls in Wellsville, and I was born.  Wellsville was only about 10 miles from the farm that was located about two miles from Buell.

I was not born in Montgomery City, which was the closer town, but Mom had grown up in Wellsville before moving to the farm outside of Bellflower.  I suppose that was part of the reason I was born in Wellsville.

Two years later, Gary was born in Mexico and in the hospital, Audrain County Hospital.  Each of us has a different birth story.  For Gary, the trip to the hospital included a trip to the implement dealer—Dad figured he had time before the baby came.

The stories of my generation differ from those of my children’s births.  The differences are worth noting:

  1. I no longer live in Montgomery County, rather we lived across the state in Lafayette County.  The doctor I trusted had moved to Kearney, and he had directed me to a specialist in Liberty—Dr. Triplett.
  2. Working in Richmond, my visits to Dr. Triplett were numerous, and my first pregnancy failed.  The follow up included a D&C that revealed two fetuses—one died at three months and the second during the fifth month.  The experience was a loss and the outpouring of sympathy and support was unbelievable.
  3. The trips to Liberty only increased.  I went alone as I was teaching in Richmond and Liberty was closer from their than from Lexington.
  4. Jordan’s pregnancy went much better and when I woke up that morning in June, my labor was beginning—back labor.  Off to North Kansas City Hospital, where the nurses and attending doctor decided it was a false alarm.  I got out of bed and the nurse said to wait a minute, she thought my water had broken.  It had.
  5. Labor was difficult and lengthy.  After 24 hours and not dilating beyond a five, Jordan’s heartbeat began to falter.  He was at risk so I was wheeled into an operating room, knocked out, and underwent a caesarean section.  Only about 10 minutes after landing in the operating room, Jordan was born.
  6. When I woke up, I awoke with a little 70-year-old nurse pushing down on my abdomen with all her might.  I had no idea what was going on.  It was 1 pm or even a little later.  Worn out and not too alert, I met my son.

North Kansas City is the birthplace of Murray Jordan McCrary.  There was no homey setting, no outdated hospital, rather one of the first hospitals in the entire metro area that had a birthing center:  a room where you were to go through labor, delivery and parenting. unless, of course, a C-section becomes necessary.

Two years later, my second birth approached, but Dr. Triplett was not going to miss this one.  As we reached the 38th week, he ordered an amniocentesis because he was scheduled to go on vacation and I was getting close to delivery.

We drove up to the hospital and they completed the amniocentesis and we had to kill a few hours while we waited to learn whether Dr. Triplett felt it was okay to deliver my daughter.  We called back—no cell phones then—and were told to check in at the hospital so he could perform the planned C-section the next morning.

  1. Planning a C-section is different than facing an emergency one, especially when the baby is going into distress and time is critical.  The planned C-section is much less complicated.  But, checking in the night before, one problem developed—how to spell our daughter’s name.
  2. Names are so important.  We had established a few criteria—family name, short first name, and meaningful.  Jordan’s name was to preserve the family’s heritage—Murray J. McCrary, who was his grandfather.  No one had ever used the MJ combination but there were so many Jims and Johns, getting another J name was a challenge.  Now we had a girl’s name to select and we had—Vada Elizabeth McCrary, but here it was the night before and phone calls from Oklahoma to northern Missouri were made to identify the correct spelling.  Was it LaVada, LaVeda, Veda, or Vada?  Finally, the grandson of the great-great aunt provided the legal way his grandmother spelled the name—Vada.
  3. The name issue resolved, a night’s sleep and at 8 am a trip to the operating room led to a quick birth—only eight or nine minutes of our daughter.  What a difference the birth was this time, and I was awake by 10 am this time.  I had not become exhausted after 24 hours of labor and they knew not to overdo the anesthesia so I could wake up.
  4. North Kansas City was the first home for each of the kids.  The environment was delightful, the visiting hours flexible, the care tender—except for that little 70-year-old nurse.  Jordan was there as much as he could be, but he also had Grandma and Grandpa there, too.
  5. Dr. Triplett was proud.  At my first doctor’s visit in January, he walked in and asked if I was going to have his first set of triplets.  I was shocked because he was a fertility specialist and surely he had aided in the birth of triplets before now.  Fortunately, I did not have them, but his first set of triplets did occur in the same time frame as my pregnancy.  Whew, that was a close call!
  6. The pregnancy was not easy like Jordan’s was.  I could not confirm the pregnancy due to snowstorms in December and January.  My first pregnancy test was negative in November, and we had started the process to use Clomed again, but it did not work.  By the time I did make that first doctor’s appointment, I was clearly showing and fighting Braxton-Hicks contractions.  The entire nine months were full of those contractions.

But again, North Kansas City Hospital is the same birthplace of Jordan.  It is a common thread between the two kids and is proven by their individual social security numbers.

Everybody has a birthplace, but some seem to provide a stronger sense of identity than others.  I am grateful that North Kansas City Hospital was available for my children’s birth even though their permanent home was Lexington, well over an hour away from the hospital.

Entering into the human world is not an easy process.  I am amazed that Mom was able to be in a clinic that was like a house.  She certainly did not have a fetal monitor, or backup operating room, or extensive staff of doctors and nurses; she had Dr. Wall.  When Gary was born, a new era had arrived and having a baby became a medical event in a hospital.

I wonder if there is any significance to the surrounding at birth.  Surely there have been studies to answer that question.  Personally, I am relieved to have North Kansas City Hospital.  But, I am also happy to know that when I was born, life was simpler maybe even more personal.  While Dr. Wall worked with the delivery, Dad worked with the names.  They had planned on a boy, so when I was born, he had a name:  Susan Nannette, but Mom said she heard it as Susan Annette, and the decision was made.

The generations continue.  Birthdays occur.  Birthplaces provide the setting.  The names are given, and the children begin the journey.  Identity begins.

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