Tammie sat down on the kitchen step stool while I was preparing supper. She demanded, “Tell me about when I was born.”
I smiled, picked up a potato and began to peal it. Today was Tammie’s eighth birthday. When I was a child, I had often asked my mother the same question. There is no topic more interesting to a child than the day they were born. With each retelling, there is hope for additional nuggets of information. I explained, “You were born by caesarean section, because of your low blood platelet problem. With your sisters, I just waited until I went into labor. For you, the doctor picked Monday February 22nd, which was a little more than one week before your due date.”
Tammie prompted, “The day before I was born, you went to eat Sunday dinner at Grammie’s house.”
Dropping the peeled potato into the kettle and picking up another, I agreed, “Yes, and it was a wonderful dinner as always. My brother Casper provided homemade cranberry wine to go with the meal. I could only taste it because I was pregnant with you, but I liked it. I think that’s why Casper gave me a bottle of cranberry wine every year for the rest of his life.”
The year Tammie celebrated her eighth birthday is the year I began to write weekly articles for the Marshfield Buyers Guide. These essays recorded my family’s milestones through the years that followed. During this time my children became teenagers and adults. In 1997 Niki, who is four years older than Tammie, fell in love with Mike and married him the following year. I recorded the way Niki told me she was engaged, how we shopped for the wedding dress and the surreal sense I had being escorted into the church on her wedding day.
As Niki and Mike’s children were born, I wrote slice-of-life articles for each child telling about how we found out they were on the way, then another about the day each child was born. I know that children all like to ask, “Tell me about when…” so after Mike died and the last child was born, I made booklets for each child using these articles. I included in each booklet the stories of their mother and father’s courtship, wedding, along with the announcement of their impending birth and what happened on the day they were born.
I thought my record of Niki’s family milestones was amazing, but complete. Last year I realized I wasn’t finished when told that Anne, my eldest granddaughter, had become engaged to Ethan. With their marriage taking place in three months, I realize there will be more family stories to tell.
One year ago, after knowing each other all of their lives, Anne and Ethan recognized they were soulmates. Being a traditionalist, Ethan wanted to ask permission from Mike to marry Anne, but unable to that, he approached Niki and gained her permission. One week later, on a January winter-wonderland-snow-day, Ethan took Anne for a short hike on Rib Mountain. On a beautiful snow-frosted trail, he got down on one knee and proposed.
Anne has been preoccupied[K1] with the classes she has been taking at Northcentral Technical College for the last two years, plus she works more than one part time job. Ethan is skillful in producing videography and is employed by a police department. This summer, one month after she graduates from NTC, Anne and Ethan will be married.
I don’t have daily interaction with my grandchildren anymore since they are very busy with their own lives. The story of Anne’s engagement and how my daughter helped her shop for a wedding dress came to me through Niki. Vicariously, I enjoy hearing about these things and fondly remember when Niki told me Mike had proposed and the first time I saw Niki in the dress she chose for her wedding.
This is my first entry in Anne’s new, “tell me about when” booklet.