Tag Archives: Grandma Nola

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

I must have blinked …

Tonight I sat still long enough to identify what’s been eating at me for the past several, head-spinning days, from Grandma Nola peacefully slipping from this life into Heaven in the early hours of Dec. 21 to the funeral, a memorable but bittersweet Christmas Day, to my ka-thunk! onto the ice, a couple of days off to paint and primp granddaughter Kianna’s bedroom (and she’s not even here yet to make it really light up), to a somewhat whirlwind trip this morning to Warrensburg to visit my brother and mom.

Whew. (And an uber-long sentence to describe it all).

Me and my brother, Robert, on his 50th birthday. That was five years ago and he's seven years older than me. You do the math: in two years, I'll hit the Big Five-O.

I worked the odd-hour weekend shift at the Tribune tonight (and again tomorrow evening). Kelly texted me at about 6:30 to let me know Natasha’s boyfriend, Kory, had arrived from Virginia, and they were headed back to Centerview/Warrensburg. Once again, our nest was empty. But I could tell from my bride’s text that it wasn’t a happy empty. It was empty. During the emotional roller-coaster of the last several days, Natasha has been an anchor, a constant. When that dawned on me, it hit me: My baby girl is all grown up. I must have blinked, because her sister is eight months pregnant. My little girls are women. What’s even more amazing is how they can be so diametrically different in so many ways, yet resemble each other — and how they both reflect their mother’s incredible inner strength, undying optimism and passion for life. So much attention is focused more and more on yet-to-arrive Kianna, and our little family enjoyed that together this week.

Kishia and Natasha, once upon a time ...

I recently heard someone mention that a man had retired or changed jobs because he wanted to spend more time with his family, to which someone else remarked, “No one wants to spend that much time with their family.”
If those someones had my family, then yes, they’d absolutely want to spend more time with them. Our empty nest reminds us just how blessed we are.

All grown up in '08, a few weeks before the presidential election. Kishia just planted an Obama sticker on her conservative sister.


Natasha holding her prize Mini-Rex "Buddy" in a senior picture six years ago.

Kelly holding her prize Natasha, 24 years ago.

And me with a chicken on my shoulder four years ago. You’ve gotta love how the Creator brings order out of chaos, and sometimes you just have to embrace life’s random moments.

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Filed under MIP: Memoir-in-progress