Tag Archives: Kianna Allene Brown

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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Grandpa brag time

Friday is typically a memoir-in-progress of the big hair and big dreams of the 1980s. Today The Journal takes a detour to share photos of Kianna Allene Brown at 6 1/2 weeks old.

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Sunday ride and some random thoughts

I'm giving some thought to changing the header photo for "Jackson's Journal" to something like this. I'm also tempted to change the name of the blog to "Fork in the road." What do YOU think?

And now some random thoughts:

  • I took an unannounced and unplanned two-day break from Journal posting. A little out of sorts lately, but back on my game now. Today (Monday) is supposed to be the 70’s Flashback (memoir-in-progress), but I might mix up the themes a bit this week to get back on track. I’ve neglected to share some “this date in history” entries in a timely manner.
  • Why do parents, couples and families go to Wal-Mart to speak horribly to each other and to demonstrate their terrible parenting skills? Nothing gets my dander up more than the mom or dad telling the kid with them to “shut up” or “don’t be so stupid.” Hey, mom and dad? You’re in public! And what it tells me is if they’re being this verbally and emotionally abusive in public, what’s going on at home is certainly far worse. We’ve got lots of families, marriages and parent-child relationships in seriously deep trouble.
  • Some have suggested that our excitement and energy over the birth 4 1/2 weeks ago of Kianna Allene Brown — our first grand baby — will eventually wane. Don’t count on it. This Grandpa’s and Grammy’s devotion to Kianna and mom and dad Kishia and Darnell isn’t a passing fancy. Kianna isn’t a novelty that we’ll soon grow tired of. I had grandparents who were mostly inconvenienced by me and my family. I didn’t learn how to grandparent. Kianna’s mommy, Kishia, has some grandparents who are simply absent or detached and uninvested in her life — by their choice. How sad. I don’t get it. I’m a full-time Grandpa. For those who suggest the excitement will wane: I will have pictures to show you until I take my final breath. Even then … check my pockets.
  • Kianna has two great-great-great aunts and uncles. How cool is that?

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What I want to be when I grow up …

Memoir-in-Progress

Before I take you back to March 1, 1979, for a peak at my “dreamlist” of future occupations, I refer you to the current and newest job of “Grandpa.”

During the great “Countdown to Kianna,” I speculated about what it would be like to make eye contact with our baby granddaughter.

I can’t describe it.

But I am absolutely certain that when Kianna has all the words to say it, she’ll ask her mom and dad, “What’s wrong with Grandpa’s eyes? Every time he looks at me they get all watery?”

Every. Single. Time.

The chronicles of me

My habitual note-taking, record-keeping and character-sketching isn’t something that hit me in my adult years. No, those traits go back much farther.

Sometime during 1974 — before my 11th birthday — I began jotting down my observations of hikes, fishing trips and similar adventures. I refer now to my Black Book of Great Adventures, no less important to me than the journals of Lewis and Clark.

March 1, 1975 – My turtle died. His name was Snaps. Had him since June 16, 1974. It died at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Found it dead in aquarium. Same day: Went fishing with Volund R. I caught 1. We discected it.

My note: Hey, even Lewis and Clark misspelled a few words. Great explorers can’t be bothered with trivial things like spelling, punctuation, etc. By the way, on March 2-3, 1975, there was this entry: “Blizzard conditions. 13 inches. missed School.”

Wednesday, March 1, 1978 – John G. had a problem and wouldn’t tell me because he was afraid I’d laugh. I assured him I’d listen and wouldn’t laugh. He tells me flatly, “My dad (stepdad) tried to kill my mom last night.” Now what kind of person would laugh at that? … His mom was unhurt. … Also, I’ve been evaluating my relationship with a girl I love very much, Kelly Drewel.

Note: Four years and three months later, I married that girl. Today I call her “Grammy.”

My March 1978 “life list” (professions I aspired to) …

1. Writer, 2. Major League baseball player, 3. Radio broadcaster, 4. Herpetologist, 5. Research biologist and chemist, 6. Woodsman, 7. Teacher-lecturer, 8. Preacher, 9. Zoologist, 10. Police officer.

March 1, 1979, “Dreamlist”

1. Writer, 2. Naturalist, 3. Major League baseball player, 4. Herpetologist, 5. Chemist/Researcher, 6. Conservation agent, 7. Microbiologist, 8. Director of Environmental Protection Agency, 9. Politician, 10. Entomologist.

March 1, 2012 – Here I am, a writer/reporter/journalist since forever. Just doing my job sometimes makes people angry. But director of the EPA? Politician? What was I thinking? That would have assured public hatred.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kianna’s story: Day 3 …

Relax. I’m not starting a daily recap of The Life of Kianna Allene Brown, although I’m sure my digital Journal here will occasionally offer incredible tales and recaps of milestone moments of her life – at least until she figures out what’s going on here and she learns to say, “Now Grandpa, don’t quote me on that.”

I’m not changing my focus because I have something better to write about, but the inspiration this little princess has poured into my heart will now be channeled toward completing two other works-in-progress, my unfinished novels “Chasing the Devil” and “Gone.” Jackson’s Journal, of course, will continue to occupy this section of Cyberspace. Look for a guest blog on Saturday by my friend and fellow fictionista Lamar Henderson.

And speaking of focus, I’ve had none this week. In fact, I’m sure I’ve had conversations and encounters with co-workers, friends and sources on my news beats that I can’t even remember. Today is Friday? Huh. The only day I remember this week was Wednesday. I’m pretty sure I’ve had a couple of bylines in the Tribune this week, but don’t ask me which stories bore my name.

As far as telling Kianna’s story, I can’t really do that, because she will write it herself – with the direction of Kishia and Darnell, of course. That was the 7 pound, 3 ounce epiphany that came to me when I held Kianna Thursday afternoon at Boone Hospital. As she snoozed peacefully, I wished hard that her eyes would open. I whispered, “There’s so much I want you to see.” The random images flashed through my mind: Sunsets. Coots diving into the mud at Eagle Bluffs. Meteor showers at 3 a.m. The glow that has radiated from Grammy since Wednesday. Any Pixar movie. The tears that come from her daddy’s eyes every time Kianna sounds the least bit uncomfortable or hungry. The first leaf buds of spring.

My wish list for Kianna is incredibly long and maybe, probably at some point, I’ll help her see some of life’s most wonderful sights. Maybe I’ll be the one who helps her figure out something that gives her an “Aha!” moment. I’m going to support others to share those unique moments with her. She’ll see most things, for a while, through her mommy’s and daddy’s eyes. They’ll be the ones who show her the way. Along the way, Kianna will discover that the greatest discoveries are made on her own. And if I’m the kind of Grandpa that I know I’m going to be, I’ll be anxious for Kianna to show me the wonders of life as she figures them out or stumbles onto them.

“Grandpa, did you see this? Grammy, look at that?”

And whatever this or that is, when we look through her eyes, it will be as if we’re seeing it for the first time.

That will be Kianna’s story – not what she learns from Grandpa, but what she teaches Grandpa.

Not how the world changes her – but how she changes the world.

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Introducing: Kianna Allene Brown

Some photos need no caption

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Waiting for our Valentine …

Countdown to Kianna

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 …

If our oldest daughter’s gestational clock is in synch with her doctor’s calculation, we’ll be grandparents in five days. I don’t expect the due date to be THE date for our first-born, Kishia, to deliver her first-born, Kianna Allene Brown. I’m thinking today would be fine. Valentine’s Day.

Tick-tock …

Grandpa’s message to Kianna #32

We’re dog people, so it sure will be nice if you like dogs. Cats are okay, but they are very mentally disturbed. Multiple personalities, I think. Dogs, though, are the best. Your mommy has had two special dogs, including  Thomas, who’s also waiting to meet you.

My problem is that I love dogs a little too much. All animals, really. I just love loving on the creatures of Creation, which has taught me that most animals aren’t fond of being petted.

Giraffes don’t bite all that hard. Cats do. They’re the worst. And humans. Nasty, nasty bites.

I’ve been bitten by 63 different animals. I’ve made a list. Several kinds of snakes and lizards, insects, fish, birds, mammals – you name it. Zebra, camel, llama, emu, turkey, blue jay, speckled king snake … Lots of critters. Even a baby Bengal tiger. That one’s a fun story about what can happen when you don’t follow Jim Fowler’s directions.

I can’t wait to tell you.

When Grammy’s not around.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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‘Mystified’

Countdown to Kianna

10, 9, 8, 7.

The due date for our first grandbaby, Kianna Allene Brown, is just one week away.

Kelly and I talk about impending grandparenthood many times a day. We communicate as well as we ever have. I don’t think we need any prodding to chat. At least I don’t need a nudge to get me to talk. But this Saturday morning, before sis-in-law, Jeannie, and her three boys arrived for a day-long and overnight visit – joined eventually by mom-to-be Kishia and Jeannie’s hub by, Eric – Kelly sat in the middle of our freshly-made bed, telling me she found the book, “Love Talk Starters.”

Her voice was playful. I rolled my eyes. She read the subtitle: “275 questions to get your conversations going.”

I rolled my eyes again.

“This will be fun!” she said with way too much glee for a Saturday morning that demanded our time to get ready for guests.

“If you could do one thing together and be guaranteed success, what would you do?”

It didn’t take me long to answer.

“You know how I try to get guest bloggers? We should be guest ‘pickers’ for the show American Pickers.”

Kelly agreed. We were really connecting; on the same page as it were.

“We’d be good at that!”

“Yeah,” I said. “Then we’d have our own show.”

This conversation-starting book was okay. Kelly read two or three more questions. We had more great conversations.

One more question. (Still 270 to go).

“Matthew Porter, the writer, said to his wife: ‘You do something to me – something that simply mystifies me.” Then the question: “What does your spouse to do mystify you?”

I didn’t hesitate.

“You always have one more ounce of energy, one more act of love. No matter how exhausted you might be, you have time for someone in crisis. And you still have time for me. Your capacity for compassion and empathy mystifies me.”

I know it was one of those “awwww!” answers, but I meant it. Rolled right off my tongue.

I was almost afraid, though, to hear her answer. So what mystifies my spouse the most about me?

“The way your mind works. I mean, like you wanted to learn origami. Where did that come from?”
It was a lovely moment. I wanted to say, “You’re mystified? I’ve got no idea why my mind works this way. I’m mystified!” That might have put a damper on things.

We’re four months away from our 30th anniversary, but we haven’t gotten tired of or used to each other. I think this concept of “mystified” is one of the sweetest spices that flavors our marriage every day.

Darnell's careful handwriting left an indelible message to Kianna on mom Kishia's belly. Photo by Sara McDaniel. Her website: http://belovedphotobyslm.com/

Grandpa’s message to Kianna #30

The verse on your mommy’s belly says it all. Kianna, you are not an accident or just some chemical or biological process. Your life has intentional purpose.

I’ve counted down the days until your birth because I’m just so excited. Excited to see my beautiful daughter be your wonderful mommy. Excited to see your daddy treasuring you like the miracle that he never dreamed he’d experience. Excited for your Grammy (Mrs. Grandpa) to tuck you into the place in her heart that has been waiting just for you. Waiting for Kianna.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that worldwide 361,000 babies are born every day. About 11,000 other babies will be born in the United States the same day you are born. That’s lots of babies.

But there’s only one Kianna. One life script just for you, different from the talents, traits and purpose of all those other babies.

I’ve been writing about your mommy’s pregnancy as if it’s a big deal because it is.

Kianna, YOU are a big deal.

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The Write Life: My Tribbees are winners

Countdown to Kianna

10, 9, 8 … Just one week and one day from the due date when Darnell and Kishia Brown will be parents, and Jodie and Kelly Jackson will be grandparents. Kianna Allene Brown will also be blessed by her Auntie Natasha.

And that’s just the immediate family. So many others are already invested in the Brown family. And a few hundred have followed this countdown to some degree for 30 days now

It won’t be long …

The Write Life

We all want to be relevant. Even the most introverted among us (and that certainly is not me) wants to matter, if not make a difference. I think that’s the Number 1 reason we write, whether it’s newspaper journalism, non-fiction biographical histories, or novels of fantasy or mystery.

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Filed under A reporter's life, CoMo Health Beat, Family, Kianna Allene Brown, Living Write

Countdown to Kianna

10, 9 … Don’t you think it’s time?

Hah. See there. I rhymed.

Maybe that’s an idea, though? Perfect meter matched with a rhythmic cadence, something to get the throes of labor and childbirth going within the next nine days. The doctor’s guesstimate for the arrival of Kianna Allene Brown was Feb. 19. But mom-to-be Kishia has her bags packed, arrangements made and work delegated from her job as the assistant administrator for an early childhood education program.

Friday’s follow a “Back to the 80’s” theme in Jackson’s Journal, so let’s grab a few hits from Grandpa’s playlist. Love songs. Some parts of these tunes even describe Grandpa and Mrs. Grandpa’s hearts as we anxiously await the arrival of our first grandbaby.

There’s not a dance vibe going on here, but instead the soft, smooth duo of Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross (Endless Love, second-biggest selling single of 1981)  and the effortless vocals of Peter Cetera and Chicago (You’re the Inspiration, 1984). We’ll add a pop-rock edge to our selections and drop a quarter in the juke box for Journey’s 1983 hit Faithfully, sung by the actual Steve Perry, not one of the scores of Steve Perry wannabes who have butchered Journey’s hits over the years.

A special note about Endless Love: Pay attention to the time mark of 1:37 … “our lives have just begun.” Kinda fitting for this post, huh?

Now, if these tunes just put Kianna in a peaceful, cuddly, relaxed mood, let’s change the mood.

“There’s a party goin’ on right here, a celebration …” That’s right. Kool & the Gang with Celebration (1980). Get on out here, Princess Kianna!

Woot!

Grandpa’s message to Kianna #28

Your Grammy and I sang “Endless Love” back in 1984 at the wedding of your Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma Thompson. Now that’s quite a pair!

Your Great-Grandpa is a jokester; you’ll want to keep a close eye on him. He’s always got a joke ready to tell. Him and Grandpa are probably the only ones in the whole family who like to watch and talk about football. Your Great-Grandma Thompson is very soft-spoken and calm-spirited – quite the opposite of Great-Grandpa. But you’ll love ‘em both!

Someday I’ll tell you about the time your Great-Grandpa climbed up tree to attach a rope – or to get your Aunt Jeannie’s kite … I don’t remember — and his leg came off. (It’s a long story. He’s got a prosthetic leg. And he probably even remembers this differently). Then I had to climb up the tree to help him get his leg back on.

Ah. Good times.

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