Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In memory of Senia I. Doldt, my Gram

Five years ago today marks the worst day of my life, the day my grandmother tragically died after a fall down the stairs. Even though that day pinnacled my life's biggest fear, how to live the rest of mine without her, I am proud to say that in the time between then and now there have been hundreds of the best days of my life. That fateful day changed my life and my attitude forever. Our beautiful daughter, Senia Mae, rightfully named in honor of her great grandmother, Senia I. Doldt, was born in 2010 and has brought so much joy and happiness into our lives. Every day I feel as if a piece of Gram is within her and thus with me, from her love of apple pie, raisin toast, and the color purple, to her insistence to stay outside just a little bit longer to smell the flowers. I can't imagine receiving a more precious gift than the one that came in the form of that little girl.

Early this morning Senia Mae and I were out walking around the yard in our pajamas. I thought about this day and how it has affected my life and felt as if I should do something that would make Gram feel present. Of course the first thing that came to mind was filling the trench in the driveway with large stones. The Savonens (Gram, as well as her father, David) were all about redirecting water flow with trenching, boulders, and ditching, why it was what he did for a living as well as build bridges. I remember countless conversations between Gram and I about how to get a gully working just right or how to address water issues. It was what she loved. The least I could do was work on the unsightly cavernous rivets forming in our gravel driveway.

We walked up and down the driveway together, Senia Mae and I, toting stones from here to there, digging a little and basically just keeping whats ours in the family. I don't think I could have honored her in a more appropriate way. I smiled looking over our accomplishment wondering if Senia Mae could feel it too. It was happiness radiating from my heart, she was with us.

I think of you and miss you every day, Gram, but I always feel that you are with me in everything I do. Love, Kara

Friday, April 5, 2013

Momma don't have a meltdown, someone's watching!

Even though this picture is over a year old it is still one of my favorites and I have it proudly displayed in my chiropractic office. I love the way Senia Mae is looking at me and it reminds me that even when I am not paying attention...she is.

The other day a fairly new patient came in for an adjustment and saw this photo on the counter. She asked if that was my daughter. I concurred as she picked up the photo, staring at it for an uncomfortably long time. She analyzed the contents, the colors, the expressions on both of our faces, how we were holding each other, paying attention to the minute details of the photograph. I remembered how Gram used to do the exact same thing, sitting at the kitchen table with her magnifying glass, taking in the aspects of a photo that could be easily missed if you gave it only a quick glance.

"See this here?" she said pointing to Senia Mae's smirked expression, her eyes captivated by what I was doing, "She might not be listening to everything you are saying, but she's watching you. Kid's learn by example, she's going to mimic everything you do, and this here is direct proof she's watching!" I gasped at the thought. It is easy to get distracted in life and forget that my thoughts, my actions, my responses, my persona basically is being copied and formatted by my daughter. Yikes! Well, that's my first response, but it is a helpful reminder that I must be a positive influence in her life because she is indeed following my example. Next time I almost lose my temper or don't think what she is saying has much value I am going to reconsider my actions because how I act is equally as important as what I say.

It is amazing how little kids see their parents as larger than life sometimes. I have a memory of being in the first grade when I used to ride the bus to school. My mom didn't happen to view me catching the bus that particular morning and worried about my safety. My dad was working and we only owned one car at the time, so my mother decided to jog two miles to the elementary school to check on me. When I gazed out the window that overlooked the playground there she was peeking in! I remember my body instantly beaming with pride! That was my mom...and she ran here! I instantly stood up in front of the class and announced that my mom could run faster than the school bus! I wasn't exactly lying, in my mind she really could do anything. I was so proud and excited I just wanted to shout from the rooftops "That's my mom!"

When we become parents rarely do we realize the enormous responsibility we are taking on, not just caring for someone else, but being the role model they need to become good functioning members of society one day. I get nervous just thinking about the fact that I could be screwing up right now and not even be aware of the microscopic damage happening in my poor child's psyche! Fortunately a therapist friend of mine calmed me down one day by stating "if you are already worried about your child's mental health and well being you are far above average and probably on the right path!" That was somewhat settling. I know I am going to and already have made mistakes. I just hope that she absorbs more of the good stuff and has the ability to forgive all of the bad stuff! I love you, kiddo!