In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, December 21, 2007

'Tis the Season

Christa's thoughts on Christmas

I've gathered quite a few Christmas memories through the years ... but having a baby on Christmas Eve 2000 pretty much tops all of them.

Christa, named in honor of her birthday, has brought much joy to our family these past 7 years.

The other day, Christa and I were sitting on the couch and she looked at me and said, "You know, Mom, sometimes I get worried."

"About what, sweetie?"

"That people will get so busy with all this other stuff that they'll forget what Christmas really is about. It's about Jesus' birthday."

Here's wishing that, in the midst of all the busyness of this time of year, you find time to remember God's gift to us: Emmanuel, God with us.

It will be quiet on this blog until the new year. I hope you all have a wonderful time with friends and family--and I look forward to reconnecting in 2008!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Change in Tradition

Some Christmas trees are topped with glittering stars or elaborate angels shimmering with gold and lace. But my family’s annual Christmas tree is adorned with a handmade tin foil and cardboard star my husband and son made nineteen years ago.

The first few years Rob and I were married, preparing for Christmas was almost an afterthought. The holidays were squeezed in between Rob’s medical school exams and traveling to visit family. But after Josh was born, I wanted to develop special memories of Christmas for our family.

“We really need a star for the top of the tree,” I told Rob as we wrapped multicolored lights around the tree trunk and unpacked our haphazard assortment of ornaments.

“Josh and I can do that,” he volunteered.
But instead of setting off to search store aisles, Rob and Josh retreated to the kitchen. With much whispering and laughter—and ample amounts of glue and tin foil and glitter—they constructed a star.

After all the decorations were hung on the tree branches, Rob lifted our tow-headed son up high on his shoulders. Josh leaned forward and set the slightly lopsided, silvery star in place.

And so began our family tradition.

Each December our holiday decorating culminated with Rob helping Josh place the star on our tree. As our family expanded to include two daughters, the tree overflowed with their handmade ornaments. Their hands eagerly fashioned red and green beaded ornaments and painted glass balls. Their chubby-cheeked toddler faces smiled out from photographs glued to construction paper.

And when the last ornaments were hung, Rob always helped Josh place the star on top of the branches. Even during Josh’s teen years, my husband pretended to hoist our growing son up high so he could put the star where it belonged. Josh’s smile of childish glee and pride changed to laughter.

But the tradition remained.

Then, my unexpected pregnancy altered our family. Christa was born on Christmas Eve, creating new traditions for our family. Christmas became a time to celebrate two birthdays—the baby Jesus’ and our daughter’s.

The year Christa turned four, Rob once again brought the plastic boxes of decorations in from the garage. I sorted them out, separating the kids’ decorations so that they could find them easily when it came time to decorate the tree. Josh was living in Denver, so I put his box of ornaments to the side, the silver star on top.

“You know, Mom, I think Christa should put the star on top of the tree now,” my daughter Amy said.

Change a nineteen year tradition? No.

But throughout the rest of the day, I mulled over Amy’s suggestion. And I realized she was right.

Josh had graduated from college a few months later. Except for summer vacations, he had not lived at home in almost four years. In the future, Josh would likely start his own family and his own traditions. He might not even make it home for some holidays. Katie Beth and Amy would leave home too.

Would the Christmas star tradition just fade away as Christa’s older siblings transitioned into their own lives?

On Christa’s fourth birthday, we gathered in our living room. The tree twinkled with multi-colored lights and our beloved eclectic assortment of ornaments.

I gave the tattered tin foil star to Josh. Josh passed it to Katie Beth who handed it to Amy. Amy then presented the star to Christa. And as tradition dictated, Rob bent down and lifted Christa onto his shoulders so she could lean in to the tree and placed the star on the top branch.

My eyes shimmered with tears as I watched the ending of one tradition.
And the beginning of a new one.

~Baby Changes Everything:
Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Looking Back on My Late-in-Life Motherhood Adventure

Just spent a good thirty minutes looking for pictures of Christa's birth. I wrote an article about my mommy-come-lately experience, and now the art director would like a few photos to go along with the article.

Could I find them?

Nope--despite the fact that I organized my photos into nicely dated photo boxes a few years back. The box labeled 2000 contained only 2 photos of Christa's birth--and those were the ones my husband had no business taking.

Needless to say, I will not be sending those to the magazine!

In just a few days--5 to be exact--Christa will be 7 years old. She was born on Christmas Eve.

And I don't know how she managed to grow up so fast.

I mean, I knew she would because my other three children certainly did. But even so, I am surprised that there's this tall, slender almost 7-year-old child snuggled under her purple comforter. Where did my toddler go?

I caught many glimpes of her tonight as I flipped through several boxes of photos. Proof positive that I was there for these past 7 years--and armed with a camera!

I like to encourage other mommies-come-lately to embrace their children. It something all moms should do: Open your arms wide and then wrap them around your child and draw that precios person close to your heart. Before you know it, your child is going to grow up and away from you.

And that is as it should be.

Motherhood is a magical balance of embracing while letting go.

Embrace your child as much as you can while you can.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Royal Late-in-Life Mom

I search out all things related to late-in-life motherhood--and I especially like to welcome another woman to the life as a mommy-come-lately!

Britain's royal family is part of the late-in-life motherhood trend. On Monday, December 17th, Prince Edward's wife, Sophie, 42, gave birth to a baby boy. Edward and Sophie, who are known as the Earl and Countess of Wessex, have a daughter who was born in November 2003. By my calculations, Sophie would have been 38--so she's a repeater mommy-come-lately.

Preview of a coming blog post: I'm tracking down a report titled Analysis of the Biological Clock Decision. The authors of the report supposedly have developed a mathematical model to help a woman determine the best time to have kids.

Oh, really?!?! We've reduced pregnancy/motherhood to a math equation?

Monday, December 17, 2007

World's Oldest Mom Seriously Ill

The world's oldest mom is making headlines again, after announcing last week that she has a "serious illness."

Marian del Carmen Bousada de Lara sparked worldwide debate when she gave birth in Spain to twins, just before her 67th birthday last year. Bousada de Lara, who is single, admitted she lied about her age to obtain fertility treatments at a private clinic in the United States. She told specialists she was 55 and paid $60,000 to receive fertility treatment. Her sons will be 1 Dec. 29th.

Bousada de Lara didn't disclose what her illness was and told a Spanish TV reporter that she did not regret her decision to have children at age 67. She also said she is receiving treatment for her illness.

I took the time to browse through the comments over at the ABC News post about Bousada de Lara. Let me just say, late-in-life motherhood continues to be a hot topic. Should older women have babies? What age is too old to be a mom? Was Bousada de Lara selfish to have children at 67? Are older moms better moms? Are younger moms better moms?

Thoughts, anyone?

Friday, December 14, 2007

And to All 3 a Good Night

As I crawled into bed the other night, I heard giggling coming from my daughter's room.

Not Christa's room--my other daughter, Amy, the 19-year-old.

As a matter of fact, I heard giggling and singing.

It was heading on to midnight, but there was some fun happening in that room.

Katie Beth, my 21-year-old daughter, was spending the night.

And the giggles and singing sounded like old times--back when Katie Beth and Amy were 9 and 11 years old, and both of them still lived at home.

I can remember crawling into bed and hearing Katie Beth and Amy talking and giggling.

"Settle down in there," Rob would warn them.

And it would get quiet.

For a minute or two.

Then more giggles. More whispers. An outburst of laughter.

Half the time, Rob and I savored the sounds, realizing that it would be over all-too-soon.

And we were right.

So, the other night when I heard the giggles and the singing and the whispers, I closed my eyes ... and pretended for just a minute or two that I had my young girls back.

And then I realized if I went back, I wouldn't have the blessing of Christa or my precious daughter-in-love Jenelle.

As wonderful as then was, now is wonderful too.

I did hop out of bed, though. Not to tell Amy and Katie Beth to be quiet. No, not at all.

I got up to enjoy kissing three daughters good night again.

It's been a while since I've experienced that pleasure.

I've missed it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Merck Recalls Portion of Childhood Vaccine Stock

Merck Recalls 1 Million Doses of Vaccine

Drugmaker Merck & Co. recalled 1.2 million doses of the Hib vaccine because of contamination risks. The company announced the recall after discovering a sterility problem in a Pennsylvania factory.

The vaccine protects against meningitis, pneumonia and other serious infections, and a combination vaccine for Hib and hepatitis B. The vaccine, recommended for all children under 5, is usually given in a three-shot series, starting at 2 months old.

While U.S. health officials said the chance of contamination is low, they acknowledged a potential for a shortage of the vaccines in the future.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snow Day!

Still gotta' do homework! This sign stays up year-round at my house.

The view from my backyard.
Christa and a friend--helping clear the sidewalks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Patience is a Virtue

Maxima enim..patientia virtus
(Patience is the greatest virtue)

I know, I know ... patience is a virtue.
But how do you teach an almost 7-year-old child patience?
To be honest, I didn't learn how to be patient until, well ... ummm, there was that one time ...
Back to my 7-year-old daughter, Christa.
I think part of the problem is that, while Christa is technically my fourth child, she functions like an only child. Two of her siblings don't live at home anymore. And while my 19-year-old daughter still resides here, she isn't seen around the premises all that much. Such is the life of a college student. She's busy, so she's gone alot.
So, Christa doesn't have to wait her turn too often when it's pretty much just her most days. (I need to check with her teacher about how patient Christa is at school.)
Christa is just used to being first in line in her life. Sometimes that translates into impatience when life isn't moving along as fast as she wants it to.
So, again I ask the question: How do you teach a first-grader patience? I can repeat, "Christa, you need to be patient," over and over again--and end up frustrating us both with the sound of my voice. We have prayed about it. I've tried to praise her when she's done the right thing. And I do know that character development takes time.
But, I'm just curious if anybody else has stumbled on a better way to teach patience. I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Praying for the Victims of the Colorado Shootings

Tragedies like the shootings in Arvada and Colorado Springs, CO ... are unexplainable.

And yet my husband and I had to sit down and talk with our almost 7-year-old daughter about what happened yesterday. New Life Church, the site of one of the shootings, is all of 8 minutes from our home. Some of our friends attend New Life. We knew that Christa would hear about the shooting in school on Monday, possibly from another first-grader--and we preferred that she hear about it from us.

But, how do you talk to a 7-year-old about a man walking into a church and shooting people as they are leaving a morning service? It's difficult being a parent when life doesn't make sense.

I confess, I let Rob do most of the talking. He seems be better at keeping things brief. And then, we wrapped our arms around our daughter and held one another. She wanted lots of hugs for the rest of the day. And I was okay with that.

My two oldest daughters spent the day with a friend whose brother was at New Life when the shooting occured. He's fine, thank God.

I've spent the day listening to the news--and there's precious little of it. I'm trying to pray. I'm crying. And I called my family on the east coast to let them know we were safe.

I don't understand it. I most certainly am not the only person who does not understand what happened. I thank God for the courageous security guard at New Life who protected so many other lives yesterday--but I am sorry she had to take a life to do so.

I pray that God comforts all the victims and their families and friends.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How Diet Affects Infertility

I stole my mother-in-law's copy of Newsweek.

Actually, I asked for her copy, but if she'd said no, I might have snuck it out of her apartment.
I'm sure some folks will be fussing about the photo of the unclothed pregnant woman on the cover. I was more intrigured by the headlines:

Health for Life: Fertility and Diet
How What You Eat Affects Your Odds of Getting Pregnant
by Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro, Dr. Walter C. Willett and Patrick J. Skerrett with Harvard Medical School

Thanks to some looming deadlines, I've only had a chance to skim the article and the online information. But, I'll read both ASAP and report back to you. Here's an opening statement from the online information:

Fat, Carbs and the Science of Conception
In a groundbreaking new book, Harvard researchers look at the role of diet, exercise and weight control in fertility. Guarantee: you will be surprised.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another Web Site for Late-in-Life Moms

My friend, Cynthia Wilson James, hosts the Web site InSeasonMom, for first-time moms over 35. Cynthia is a Chilbirth Educator and a late-in-life mom of two children. Her Web site is packed with encouragement for older moms: articles, links--even a "Featured Mom" page, where she interviews other mommies-come-lately.

This month, Cynthia interviewed me about Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35. It's always fun to talk with another mommy-come-lately--and Cynthia has such a positive outlook about having children at 42 and 44.

I hope you visit InSeasonMom: everything has a season.

Monday, December 03, 2007

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms December 3, 2007

Here's what's in the news:

More Pregnant Women Getting Scans
Pregnant women are receiving more high-tech imaging scans, including CT, nuclear medicine, and plain film x-rays, than a decade ago, according to a recent study. And while the study from Brown University states that the level of radiation exposure are low, they still carry a slight risk to an unborn child.

Brain Abnormalities Mapped in Autistic Children
Autistic children have enlarged gray matter in areas of the brain that control social processing and sight-based learning than children without the developmental disability, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


And to all, a good night's sleep because National Blog Posting Month ended yesterday!!!

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