Sunday, September 15, 2013

Birthday Thanksgiving!

My mother-in-law sent me this amazing bouquet for my birthday today! It arrived on Friday afternoon and has made this weekend so very special. My mother died in 1994, and my mother-in-law Irma has stepped into my heart to fill that void. I am very blessed that she is so very loving and has taken me to her heart as another daughter!

58 years ago today my mother, Ruth Domsalla Anderson, went into labor and was taken to Jane Lamb Hospital in Clinton, Iowa. Her OB was on his way back from Chicago on the train, and my mother was told my delivery needed to wait until his arrival. She and my dad (Ken) were not pleased, and me being me, I did not wait for the OB to show up. I arrived quickly and with much fan-fare, however, I had spinal meningitis and was not expected to live. Parents were told to prepare for the worst. Minister was called, funeral home prepared.

Fourteen days in an incubator and around the clock nursing and I am still here! My pediatrician, Dr. Rockwell (first female doctor in Clinton) told my folks 6 days into this two week period she felt I would make it because I had kicked the lid off the incubator one night. She told them it showed to her my determination to live and be noticed for still being here.

After I was taken home from the hospital, doctors told my parents to expect brain damage from the difficult birth and the infections I suffered after I arrived. Their estimation was that I would be a "special needs" child and never attend regular school. One day when I was about 4 years old, our neighbor Dr. Snyder was leading a group of the neighborhood children in cleaning up the street where we lived. Evidently I started peppering him with questions about what we were doing, and why, an I did not stop talking. He started to cry (I remember this well) and took my hand to walk me over to my father who was raking up leaves. He told my Dad he was amazed, but that I was going to be just fine.

When I was a child, every birthday was a celebration of life and love. Every birthday for my sister and I involved a "Birthday Breakfast." My mother would set the table with her finest china and crystal, and bake a lamb cake for me. (My daughter Emily now has the lamb cake mold in Iowa.)

Birthday Breakfasts until the year I was first married happened without fail, through college and changes in my life, and included crape paper streamers, balloons, and a table covered with wrapped presents, all before I left for school. I could have whatever I wanted for that breakfast. It was all magic for me.

When I was first married to my daughters' father Kent, at our rehersal  dinner, my mother handed Kent a box with all the "fixings" and instructions for the "birthday breakfast". Bless him, he did this without fail right up until the September before he died.

My mom Ruthie, about age 12
My mother was so very thankful to God that I had survived my birth and serious illness, she celebrated each year in a tangible, kinesthetic way, to help us all remember the blessing of being alive.

This morning as I write, my cup runneth over with love and thanksgiving for that wonderful woman who left this earth in 1994. Whenever I wish that I could know her at the age I am now, tell her that the life she gave to me has been so precious, I invariably dream about her the next night as I did last night.

I realize then, as I did this morning, that she is always with me, always by my side in prayer and in the studio, encouraging me to continue to move forward, and continue kicking the lid off the incubator so I don't get too comfortable!

All will be well, and all will be well, with the blessings and wisdom of our Mother God, all will be well.


  1. Well there, I have known you were an extraordinary individual from the first day. It is good to have it confirmed! Happy Birthday, my dear friend.

  2. What a wonderful story that tugs at the heart strings. Anyone who meets you knows that you are special, and that is meant in the nicest of ways.