Monthly Archives: June 2012

Letter to Kianna: What a week!

Dear Kianna,

I learned a lot this week from the tiny house wrens that are raising a brood of even tinier wrens in a backyard bird house. Funny, too, because the bird house is shaped like a cat’s head and the opening is the “mouth.”

I ate breakfast a few mornings on the patio this past week, watching the mom and dad wrens performing an almost non-stop feeding schedule for their babies that I can hear but have not yet seen. Momma Wren darts off to the north and returns with a moth. Not sure why she has to fly so far, unless maybe she’s found a moth “honey hole.” (I’ll explain more about honey holes when we go fishing someday). Daddy Wren flits away to the west and apparently doesn’t go as far as his mate, and he’s more prone to bring a variety of bugs for his hungry offspring.

Kianna, I watched the carefully orchestrated, orderly feeding, and realized the same thing is occurring in thousands – tens of thousands? – backyards, bird houses and trees all around Columbia. And that’s just house wrens. Our backyard is also a day-long feeding site for Frank and Frankie, the mourning doves that we’ve been watching since March, and a variety of finches, sparrows, red birds, robins, blue jays, chickadees and even cow birds, which your Grammy absolutely despises. There’s also a scrawny squirrel and just today a brown bunny hopped onto the patio.

Grandpa won’t be happy if the bunny helps itself to the new green beans and other garden goodies that add color and character to our beautiful back yard.

When I see all the activity of our natural world, I see a grand design and feel a deep appreciation for creation. Kianna, there are some who say (actually, a LOT who say) that the pulse of nature – the tiny birds that build intricate nests and raise their young, the proud call of the red bird, the finch family’s splash of color – is basically the result of a great cosmic accident. Some say that even the feeling of awe that sweeps over me as I watch those wrens – or the flood of emotion that comes from seeing your smile – is really just an accident, a random result of chemical reactions and biological processes.

Don’t believe it.

Someday you’ll hear about The Big Bang, the process that supposedly led to the wrens, the curious bunny rabbit, and your smile. In fact, I recently read that some scientists believe there were maybe a million billion big bangs until there was one that finally brought about creation. You will grow up in a world that is increasingly accepting of this “theory” and exceedingly mocking of those of us who dare believe that God spoke it all into existence. (As if a million billion – or even one – Big Bang is easier to “prove?”)

Someday, Kianna, you and I will have this discussion, but I’m thinking that will be a few years down the road. After all, you turn 4 months old on Friday the 15th.

Grammy and I were off work all last week. We spent a couple of days out of town and celebrated our 30th anniversary. Aside from that relaxing trip and watching the wrens, I can’t remember much else about the week except spending so much time with you. We came to your house Wednesday and Thursday while your mommy and daddy went to work. Then you came to our house Saturday night while your proud parents went on a date.

Grammy and I were with you maybe a little more than 16 hours, but it seemed like much, much longer. You know why? Time stands still when we’re with you. And something else I noticed. At first I thought that you couldn’t keep your eyes off me. Then I realized it’s actually the other way around. The reason I see you following me with your eyes is because I don’t take my eyes off YOU.

Kianna, you are a smart and beautiful little girl: Brown eyes that literally sparkle, a smile that fills everything in the room with joy, and skin that is as smooth and sweet as butter cream and cocoa.

When Grammy and I talked today about all that we did during our week off together, we laughed and talked about you. When we talked about what our work schedules looked like for the coming week, we still talked about you.

Yep, we’re crazy about our granddaughter.

Love, Grandpa

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Filed under Family, Kianna Allene Brown, MIP: Memoir-in-progress, Nature & Animals

30 years later …

June 5, 1982: Kelly and I said “I do.” She had been 19 for six weeks. I would be 19 in nine weeks. We were just kids who were in love, drawn together six years earlier as teenagers at about the same time both of our homes were devastated by divorce.

We really didn’t have a clue. Kelly was far more mature (still is), but we’ve often agreed that, in hindsight, we should have waited to marry, so I mention that bit of wisdom as a way of saying, “Kids, don’t get married when you’re 19.” On the other hand, if we hadn’t married in June 1982 and delayed the inevitable nuptials — or not married at all — Kishia Chantel probably w0uldn’t have been born on Feb. 26, 1985, and Natasha LaRin wouldn’t have been born on March 13, 1987.

The greatest blessings of our life together — and now Princess Kianna Allene Brown, our granddaughter — are the children God gave us.

Hindsight says one thing. Reality and a wonderful life says another. We’d do it all over again, the same way, if given the choice and opportunity. Every day is at once new and predictable, laced with a solid measure of security yet seasoned with adventure and discovery. Kelly and I are as different as night and day yet also as similar as lifelong best friends and companions should be.

Some refer to their spouses as their better half. Kelly is my completeness, probably more like my 100 percent. Our lives aren’t linked as pieces of a puzzle; rather, our souls are woven together. Not saying “I do” on 6/5/82 wouldn’t have left me with a hole in my heart. That would have left me with an abyss deeper and wider than all the oceans combined.

A few weeks ago Kelly said to me, “I like our life.” Few statements have ever given me as much satisfaction, peace and contentment.

As anniversary No. 30 passed, I made a list of my Top 10 “secrets” to a long, happy, fulfilling marriage. But when I finally listed No. 10, I realized that was the only secret that I needed to share. (I’ll share No. 1-9 at a later date, including “No. 3: Pursue and practice purity,” and “No. 5, Pray for and with each other.”)

No. 10?

“Realize you still don’t have a clue.”

Thirty years later — marriage, fatherhood, now grandparenthood — I still often feel like a novice, not an expert. That’s humbling but, unlike this time 30 years ago, not as daunting and scary. As we begin Day 1 of the next 30 years today. The adventure continues, fueled by love and laughter.

This is gonna be great!

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Filed under Family, Kelly, MIP: Memoir-in-progress