Sunday, September 28, 2014

Seven Eleven

Forty-three years ago this morning a precious baby girl entered our world and I was happy. Kathryn Alexis Rains, with a head full of dark hair and rosy cheeks, roared into the world at St. John's Hospital, Joplin, Missouri, arriving at 7:11am on a Tuesday morning, before grandparents could even be called.  For them, no waiting! What a delightful surprise for all of us. I had the luxury of a grand insurance plan from BF Goodrich, which allowed me six full days of hospital care.  

I quickly learned what so many of the "old wives' meant when they said, "sleep when you can, your pleasant nights of rest are over."  So began the cycles of life for both of us and a connectedness between mother and daughter that runs deeper than the ocean's bottom, with highs that surely crest the Alps, and blues that churn the rolling seas.  Her cholicky days and nights must have rivaled mine, as my father heard her cries and immediately was
Gramps and his kitten, Katy.
transported to the months following my birth when I, too, would scream and cry, keeping the whole world awake and weary.  As my mother, the sage, would say when she pursed her lips and made a slight kissing sound, "This too shall pass, Letty."

Katy was a child, now a woman, who cannot be contained by walls.  Her energy, her curiosity, her head strong stubbornness all woven together has created a life full of good and bad choices, love and heartache, and learning from experiences more than from books.  She steadfastly learned how to ride a two-wheeled bicycle down the gravely streets of Greensburg, Ks before she turned four.  Blood, sweat, and tears were a daily part of our lives.  We have been guided by a loving patient higher-power and been held by the hands of angels in this journey.  Though my mother died twenty-five years ago, she has held me daily as Katy and I continue our journey of life.  A mother's touch reaches beyond the world we wake up to, and can be felt when the breezes brush our cheeks, when the sun radiates across our faces, or when the ocean waves lap at our feet.  

One noonday lunch break on a September 28 when I was teaching at Wilson Elementary a light touch whispered in my ear, and I realized that I was 46 and Katy had just turned 23. For one half of my life, she had been the child I wanted and held so closely that day in 1971. Today she is 43 and I' m 66, and the numbers keep rising, aren't we lucky.   

We have so few traditions, the two of us, possibly because of divorce, that ugly word that causes rivers of tears, or because of moves, but one tradition we hold strong to takes place every year on her birthday at 7:11 in the morning.  No matter where she is I wake her with a gentle touch or a phone call at 7:11 on September 28 and wish her happy birthday and sing in my mother's voice "Happy Birthday to You."  

Today, Katy is on the beach at the Gulf of Mexico refreshing her soul with the ocean waters, sitting in the sun, or holding a fishing pole casting for the biggest catch of the day, as always looking for adventure.  I love you Katy and am blessed to be a part of your life.  
Sound (wo)man on the OU sidelines.


  1. Congratulations, Letty, on celebrating your 43rd anniversary of having such a precious daughter!!

  2. What a beautiful piece about mothers and daughters and your perspective on being both. Oh, and Happy Birthday, Katy.

  3. We can't have it all, but you are lucky to have a daughter. ab

  4. Wonderful tribute to your daughter! Her birthday is my youngest sister’s birthday, too. Such a cute picture of her and your dad.

    I was a cholicky baby, too. My dad said I slept all day…and cried all night. Being the oldest kid, I’m amazed they had 8 more kids….. nv