|Four Times Blessed
Teresa P. Thompson
2003 by Teresa P. Thompson
There’s no doubt that every mother feels blessed with each of her children in many different ways, but then there are those of us who are just a bit more aware of the blessings that those gifts from God can become to us.
Oftentimes motherhood is taken for granted if only for the mere fact that is a taught trait that we get early in our childhoods from our own mothers. When we have someone to pass down the instincts of this precious title, we are not so quick to see how important the job or responsibility of motherhood really is.
But then there are those of us who savor every moment and cherish every precious thing our children do...those of us who have been unfortunate enough to grow up without a mother of their own.
Although the divorce between my parents was rough, nothing prepared me for my mother’s disappearance several years later. At the tender age of twelve, I was informed that my mother had disappeared without a trace. The affects of this traumatic time followed me throughout my teen years and straight into adulthood.
Each Christmas, there seemed to be a gift missing from under the tree...one that should have been there...the one for my mother. Each birthday, I would wonder if she was somewhere thinking of her firstborn just as I was thinking of her. Every knock of the door gave way for a spray of hope that I would open it and find that she had just needed some time alone.
As the years passed I came to realize that it wasn’t going to happen. That knock on the door may never happen and I slowly began to accept that. With each holiday I even found it easier to not have that one special gift under the tree. Eventually each birthday even began to take on a new meaning.
It wasn’t until recently that I took the time to realize what had actually replaced that emptiness in my heart and life. By now I have three daughters and a granddaughter of my own. Recently, after my middle daughter graduated high school and left home, I was browsing through the photo albums and reality it me.
It had not been time that had actually healed my pain and morning for my own mother. Instead, it had been these three wonderful human beings that God had given me to nurture and care for over the years. These three wonderful people that I speak of are my daughters.
As I looked through the album, I realized just how blessed I had been over the years. I have heard it said many times that “God will always replace what is taken away from us.” But I never realized just what that meant until that day.
Yes, I perhaps, had lost my mother to strange circumstances and I had spent many years of my life wondering why it had to happen to me. Suddenly, as I glanced at my two-year-old granddaughter’s smiling face, in an instant I realized that no matter what I had lost God had given back to me four times over.
My hand touched the pictures of these four wonderful people whom had filled the deepest hole in my life, and suddenly the memories of yesterday came flooding through my mind like tidal waves. The first time that my oldest, Sheena, had cut her hair; the times that she had spent quiet hours running her tiny toddler fingers through my own hair; and the times that she walked into the room on the evening of her first prom, date or other important event in her life. I could almost once again see the radiance in her beautiful green eyes as she modeled her prom gowns or evening dresses for my approval.
Her high school graduation came to mind and the pride that I felt as I watched her begin her own life. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I remembered the day that she too became a mother...the day she had given me that special addition to our family when my granddaughter, Kamryn, was born. I smiled as I realized that it was her turn now. She was not only my daughter, but she was now also someone’s mother.
As I turned the pages of the album, I caught a glimpse of a picture of my second daughter, Shasta. I had to laugh out loud, because it was the school picture that was taken the day after she had wrecked her bicycle and scratched her nose and mouth so terribly.
I could almost hear her words echoing through my head as she had pleaded, “Please, mommy don’t make me have my picture made this way.”
But school pictures were a big deal at our house, and I just insisted that she go through with it. Of course, to an eight-year-old, there was just no type of logic in having a picture made when your face was torn all to pieces. As I looked at the picture, now I was certainly glad that I had insisted.
The four years between the two oldest girls seemed almost like ten years. I flipped through the book and with each page I realized that most all their pictures were taken separate. It had been almost like they had intentionally avoided one another for over a decade. I was so proud now to know that they had become so close...almost like best friends.
It gave me such comfort to know that Shasta had followed Sheena to the city of Lexington after her high school graduation. It is even more comforting knowing that they are just two hours away from me and their real home.
The differences between the girls even seemed to make sense to me now. For years I had wondered how Sheena could be so outgoing and full of energy and zest for life, when Shasta was so quiet and reserved into her own little corner of the world. That difference in the girls used to bother me. But suddenly I realized their differences were what complemented each other’s personalities.
The pages of the album were turning almost as fast as the wheels of my memories when I suddenly came upon my youngest daughter, Ka’ssee, smiling back at me. I couldn’t help but giggle as I looked at her curly little mug of a face.
I had been long divorced from Sheena and Shasta’s father when I met Doyle, Ka’ssee’s father. The girls were almost grown and I had never had any intentions of ever having another child. Ka’ssee was a complete surprise since I had been told just a year before that I would never have any more children due to a female problem with my ovaries and uterus.
Now looking into the eyes of this golden haired child, I was ever so thankful that God’s plan had not matched the doctor’s diagnosis or my own plans. Even though she had her own personality, Ka’ssee had been more like Sheena than Shasta from the day I brought her home from the hospital. She seemed to have that fire and determination in her that said she was invincible.
As I turned to the last page of the album it was so ironic that I should find my own mother’s high school picture starring back at me. I smiled in an effort to thank her for the fact that she had given me life and the opportunity to become the mother of these three wonderful young ladies that made up the pages of this treasure album that I held in my hands.
I said a silent prayer for her before closing the album and then I thanked God for all the blessing in my life, especially the four wonderful people that I can honestly call “my best friends.” And then I realized that the one Christmas gift that had been missing all those years had been replaced with four more.
Suddenly I had to laugh when
my thoughts drifted to......
THE DAY MY OLDEST CUT HER OWN HAIR
I will never forget the day Sheena, who is now 22 years old, first experimented with the “hair cutting profession.” I was preparing dinner when I suddenly noticed that she had become very quiet as she played in the adjoining laundry room.
“Too quiet,” I thought, as I peeled my last potato and placed it into the pot to boil. “Now what could she be up to?”
I knew my Sheena, and she was never this quiet unless she had found something to amuse herself with. Usually when she was amused, that meant that she had gotten herself into some kind of mischief.
As I stuck my head around the corner of the washer I caught a glimpse of freshly cut hair on the floor. I suddenly became too frightened to even look any further, but I knew that I had no other choice.
Fear arose in the pit of my stomach as I fixed my eyes on the tiny hands holding the scissors. Although they were children’s scissors, I knew that they would still cut hair.
As I looked down at the innocent little face starring back at me it was obvious that “yes” she had been experimenting with the cosmetology profession! Her bangs were hanging in strings all around her face! The pieces that weren’t cut right into the scalp, were either dangling by a thread or they were zigzagged in the shape of a broken puzzle!
“I cut my hair, Mommy,” the tiny three-year-old voice said, as she handed the scissors up to me. “Does it look good?”
I could hardly gasp for air, as tears streamed down my cheeks. At that moment I didn’t know whether to scream or just turn around and run.
“My baby’s beautiful hair is destroyed!” Was all that I could say over and over. Although I did not say it aloud, those were the unspoken words that kept going through my mind.
Looking back on the incident almost 19 years later, I am now certain that I am not the only mother who has ever felt that their child had ruined her looks with a pair of scissors. But at the time, to me, a young mother, it was almost devastating.
Luckily it was early enough to get her into a beauty shop that day, but that didn’t mean they could actually straighten up the mess that she had created out of her hair. Not even “Vidal Sassoon,” himself, could have helped her with that hair style---although it would have probably blended in well with “today’s styles.”
Leaving the shop, I felt almost ashamed to take her out on the street. The beautiful green eyed girl had absolutely no bangs other than little pieces of what looked like spikes growing from the front of her forehead. Although it was not funny then, it seems almost comical now when I think of it. Perhaps it is the way I reacted that was the comical part of the story.
Needless-to-say, her hair finally grew back around three months later, and within six months, there was no apparent evidence that it had even happened. However, I certainly made sure that when she played with scissors I was right there supervising the situation. I suppose that became my biggest fear throughout the remainder of her childhood. I certainly wasn’t going to let it happen again.
Although I have had two other daughters, I can honestly say that Sheena’s experiment with the “hair cut” paved the way for me to be extra cautious when it came to the other two. I suppose that has been my biggest fear with both the other girls as well. In a sense it has been such a fear that I have even caught myself hiding their scissors from time to time.
As all mothers, I feel nothing could ever make my girls any less beautiful, but I certainly made sure that the scissors didn’t attempt to play a hand in it for the remainder of their childhoods.
Remembering Sheena’s hair cutting
incident and the things that can happen to a child must have jogged my
memory back to......
MY MIDDLE DAUGHTER’S BICYCLE INCIDENT
It was late in the evening and I was preparing to call the girls inside for their nightly baths and preparations for bedtime, when suddenly I heard Sheena yelling from beyond the house.
The memory of what I saw when I opened the front door still lingers in my mind to this day. Of course, it looked much worse than it actually was. I came face to face with Sheena holding on to her sister, Shasta, as though she was trying to help her walk.
Of course, it didn’t appear that her legs were hurt---it was her face! The blood seemed to stream down her cheeks and across her forehead, making it a terrifying sight to a frightened big sister.
“Mom, Shasta has wrecked her bike and I know she is hurt pretty bad!” My oldest said as she led her sister up onto the porch. “We had better take her to the doctor!”
After cleaning the blood from Shasta’s face, it was apparent that it was just a few minor scratches that would not require any medical attention. Of course, it looked as though it would probably be awhile before the scratches would heal.
Not a problem? No it may not have been, except for one major issue---tomorrow was picture day at school. How in the world was Shasta going to have her pictures taken like that? After giving it much thought I realized that the girls had never missed a picture day in all their years of school and I was certainly determined that it would not start now. After all, Shasta was still my beautiful blond haired doll and a few scratches didn’t make a difference in that to me.
“Please, Mommy, don’t make me
have my pictures made this time!” Shasta pleaded as she got ready
for school the next morning. “Just look at my face!”
But not a plea in this world would have changed my mind about the situation. School pictures were a big deal at our house. They were like a recording of that school year, and I was not about to let Shasta miss out on that.
“Someday you’ll thank me for this,” I told her in a stern voice. “After all, you’re still just as beautiful today as before you had the accident. Now, come on do it for Mommy.”
I am now certain that Shasta only agreed to take the pictures that day to humor me, but some 11 years later I am certainly glad that she did. Those pictures have become the talk of our family. Every time someone looks at the family album that picture becomes the center of the conversation.
Even though we all know how embarrassing that picture has been to Shasta over the years, when I look at it I see much more than those awful scratches that streak across her face. I see my beautiful child, just as any mother would.
Standing there lost in my thoughts
and memories, I wondered what event would someday be a “funny memory” for
me when it came to my youngest daughter. At the moment there were
already several memories (both funny and serious) that I could think of,
but the one that most entered my thoughts on a more serious note was the
time she bluntly told me......
I LOVE JESUS MORE THAN ANYBODY
(THE WORDS OF A CHILD)
It was at that moment that I realized how innocent and pure a child’s love really is. And it suddenly dawned on me why Jesus said in the Bible that “one must be like a little child in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
It must surely be that one must be pure-hearted and willing to let the love they hold in their hearts surface no matter what; a fact that was revealed to me when my precious little golden-haired four-year-old Ka’ssee said to me, “I love you mommy but, I love Jesus more than anybody.”
As I towel dried her wet curly hair, it was all I could do to hold the tears back from my eyes as she said these precious words to me upon emerging from the bathtub. Perhaps the most precious part was that we had not at that moment even been discussing Jesus or anything to do with the Bible. It was the fact that she had remembered the talks we have regularly about Jesus and how important it is to put Him first in our lives.
Most children would usually not even give those discussions much more thought. It was then that I knew that I have been doing something right as a mother. Unfortunately during the childrearing years of my two oldest daughters, there wasn’t much discussion about the subject of Jesus in our home. Of course, we said our bedtime prayers and they both attended Sunday school and bible school as often as possible. They both witnessed my faith in the Lord as I put myself through college after my divorce. They both learned the importance of giving by watching me make certain that my ties were turned in each Sunday no matter what else got paid.
That was just it---they watched me. Not once did I ever attempt to sit them down and talk over with them the issues of the Bible. Perhaps it was because in part, I still had an awful lot to learn about the Bible myself, before I felt comfortable with giving advice. It has just been in recent years that I feel that God has given me the knowledge and understanding enough to be capable of discussing such delicate issues with a child.
In a way it might be easier to say that until recently I was still an infant in Christ just learning to crawl and now a toddler beginning to walk. It has only been in recent years that I have been able to sit down calmly and quietly and read the Bible and be able to come away with understanding. That’s not to say that I understand everything I read from that precious book. There are just some things that He does not want us to know, and there are still other things that He only reveals to us when the time is right. It has been said by many great men and women of the Bible that “God has a season for everything.”
As I listened to my little girl telling me how much “Jesus meant to her,” I realized that she was learning something from our prayers and talks about Jesus and how he saved the whole world from eternal destruction. At the same time I felt a little deprived that I had not instilled that so much into my older girls. Yes, I knew that they both had grown up in a Christian home believing in the Eternal Father, and I was satisfied that I had taught them everything possible at the time---everything that was within my own Biblical knowledge.
But still hearing “I love Jesus more than anybody,” saddened my heart for my other two girls and all the children of the world who have not reached the point where they can put their savior above everything else. Not even many adults can honestly say “I love Jesus more than anybody.”
I am certain that most of the Christian world does actually “love Jesus more than anybody.” But how many do it consciously without having to think about it? How many people say it on a daily basis? How many of us put others before Him without realizing it? How many of us actually realize that he is a person too and not just a thought that we don’t see? These are the thoughts that entered my heart as I heard these words come from the mouth of one of God’s little ones.
If only we could all be like this little girl and say the words out loud, “I love Jesus more than anybody.” Because that, along with loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, is what we must be able to do and say before we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But above all we must be able to mean it when we say it, just as I am certain my little girl did.
Brushing past the memories of
these three wonderful girls that God had sent into my life, I anticipate
the day when I will look back on something that my granddaughter Kamryn
has done to either make me smile, laugh or cry. At the moment, the
one thing that shines true in the eyes of this beautiful two-year-old is......
HER LOVE OF CATS
Not everyone is capable of such great love for a specific animal as this little one is of her love for cats. From the day she was big enough to crawl she has seemed to be mesmerized by these furry creatures. And her love for them seems to grow every day.
Of all my girls, this seems to be the one thing that she inherited from her Nana (me). Of course, Shasta also always had a special place in her heart for cats. But Kamryn’s love for them seems to be somewhat different than that---it’s more like a deep bond that intertwines between her and the cuddly fur balls.
It’s almost like you can see a connection between them when they are together. Cats seem to love her as much as she loves them.
I am certain that in years to come, Kamryn will make many of an impression on me and in my heart, but as of now, when I think of her, I think of my great love for cats; because we seem to share that common interest inside our hearts.
Even my cat, Neena, seems to understand who “Kamryn” is when I speak her name. Just the slight utter of the child’s name can make Neena’s ears stand straight up and her eyes widen with excitement. That also lets me know that Neena senses this great love for her species that Kamryn has in her heart.
All these memories make me realize how lucky I am to have been blessed with such wonderful girls. Each one of them is different and unique in their own special way and it is these differences that have imprinted my heart forever. Just as no mother can, I could never have a favorite. But I can say that each of them hold a favorite spot in my life.
I thank God that he has blessed
me so favorable with such wonderful children and grandchild. As it
is said everyday, “No matter what we lose in our lives, God always rewards
us back with something even more special.” And although it has been
sad that I lost my own mother, I can honestly say that I have been four
times blessed in return.
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Story List And Biography for Teresa