What a celebration it was- 34 years ago today- Tessie was born at home. I was in labor and it was a cold windy cloudy day. I remember sitting in the back bedroom of our single wide trailer, watching the wind blow the milk pods in the field. Now this sounds kind of ghetto, but it was a nice trailer. We had new bright red carpets and a couch from RC Wiley’s Furniture store that had stripes that matched the carpet. My dad gave us the money to buy a matching avocado washing machine and dryer. This was my first home with such luxury and a far cry from cross country skiing to the Laundromat when we lived in our one room cabin in Fraser, Colorado when Kiona was a baby.

The outside of the trailer was blue and white corrugated tin. That sounds tinny, maybe it was steel. The back bedroom window looked out on a field of wavering grain. The front held the kitchen and faced south so it was full of sunshine in the afternoons. The only thing I didn’t like was when the wind blew. The whole trailer shook so violently that I thought it might topple off its cement block foundation. And we had some mice which I abhor, but it was sunny and clean and the trailer park had friends that came and went. I remember the day Harry and Winslow arrived in their airstream from Jacksonville Florida to do some hang gliding. We used to sit on their porch summer nights and sip Mount Gay Rum. Was that the name of it? I don’t know but it was strong –but that must not have been when I was pregnant because I didn’t do that then.

So anyway, I started in labor in the middle of the night and by morning I ate some yogurt – Yoplait strawberry. How can I remember that? It was hard to go down. I wasn’t hungry but my stomach was queasy so I thought I should eat something. Tessie wasn’t born until about three pm the next day. I was glad 1979 wasn’t a leap year so she had to risk being born on a day that only came once every four years.

I had to push and push to get her out and I thought my innards were coming with the baby. It did not feel good and was frightening. But when she came it was such sweet relief. Dave was coached by the midwife and caught her. Well it wasn’t like I threw her out so caught is not the right word. Dave’s hands were there to receive her. Tessie sputtered and took a breath right away. She didn’t really cry, just looked around and seemed to say- Hi, I made it. She was so beautiful. She had lots of dark wet hair pasted to her head and her chipmunk cheeks were very fat and red. As soon as she was born the midwife swaddled her in a fuzzy flannel and handed her to Kiona. Kiona looked at her tiny fingers and said, “Oh she is soooo cute”… Kiona had this deep little voice for a five year old because she had so many tonsillitis episodes, I guess. But now that I think of it Lia has the same voice. Kiona was a very attentive big sister. The minute Tessie would make a peep Kiona would remind me that Tessie needed me. Tessie nursed right away and was such a bundle of perfectness that I marveled at her beauty and the creation that allowed my body to nourish and sustain her and give birth to her. I felt great after the birth– so content to have my baby by my side and outside of my big belly. She weighed 9 pounds 13 ounces and I always attributed that to my nine month craving for bean burritos.

Tessie had a rough few months as we were plagued with a nasty episode of cholic. She continued as a toddler to have a seriousness about herself, like she had been through the wringer, which she had. I didn’t understand why she would wake from a sound sleep and scream shrill and hard. It came in waves and pierced our ear drums and our hearts. What to do? It was frightening and I didn’t know how to comfort her. We took her to the doctor who said she had stridor which is a flap that closes off the airway when she cried and so he thought that was what made her gasp and cry harder. He said she would grow out of it, which she did but it took about 6 months.

When she started eating she would trap her little toes underneath the lip of the high chair tray and scoot down to get close to the food. She picked up shredded zucchini with her index finger and thumb and put each piece in her mouth one after the other. Her love of vegetables unfortunately was short lived. By the time she was three I had a hard time finding things she liked to eat. She was just like her four year old daughter Emma that way. It is funny how we pass on these characteristics. Kind of like karma-what goes around comes around. Today Tessie has four of her own children, from 12 to 4 years old. I learned early on that my advice was not welcome as she didn’t like being told how to mother her children. It was a good thing it came naturally to her and she didn’t really need my advice. I bless this day. Thirty-four years ago she came into this world and has been a beacon of light and joy in my life and all those who know her sweet spirit. Happy Birthday my Tessie Snow! Visit her most amazing blog at: TessieFay.com