I was the mistake that wasn't suppose to happen. I was the oops in their plan for life. My father was nearly 40 when I was born. He was a bachelor who remained that way in part because he was helping a sister and her children. Once they were secure in Norway with family, perhaps it was then he thought of marriage. A Norwegian immigrant, he found a young American from Pennsylvania who had come to Brooklyn New York to work as a domestic and help her former pastors who had also moved from small town PA to big city Brooklyn. She was 19 years his junior, but love bloomed and they said I do.
|Perhaps as newlyweds or during their earliest years of marriage.|
I came into my parents life at a different time than my brothers. When my brothers and I have gotten together in the past, they speak of a childhood I didn't know. They speak of parents I didn't know either. Particularly when they laugh at my dad's idiosyncrasies and "cheapness," I grieve and wonder. Could this be the same dad that raised me? Could this be the same dad that called me Lilla Venn and held my hand to explore all NYC had to offer?
Of late, I've encountered people who knew me as a child. One thing they all comment on is my dad's pet name for me, Lilla Venn. They tell me how much my dad loved me. My dad died when I was 19 years old. At the time, I had no idea how deep that loss was - now it becomes deeper and deeper every day.
My mother was laid to rest almost 2 years ago. I miss her. Some mornings I imagine the shuffle of her feet as she would get up and get her coffee in the morning. God blessed her with almost 92 years of life and for the last 25 years of that life, she lived with me.
My mother's love for me was more complicated that my dads. I wondered for many years if she loved me. As she aged and mellowed, she told me often how much she loved me and appreciated me. Those memories help fill the loss.
One night, a few years before she died, I was up all night working on a paper for school. Prone to procrastination, I usually do my best work under the stress of an all nights (or at least so I think). It must have been around 3 a.m. and I heard that shuffle. She came to the dining room table and said
"I'm worried about you."I smiled.
I said "Oh, I'm just working on a paper."
She said "You need some sleep."
I said, "I'm fine."
She said "I've been up praying for you. I just wanted to tell you to get some rest."
I was very blessed that both my parents were people of prayer. I was very blessed that they brought me to church as an infant and kept bringing me to church. There was never a time I didn't know Jesus. Jesus was present in our home. My dad would always be heard, throughout the house, whistling or singing a hymn. My mother would sit with me at the piano and we'd sing Sunday School songs and hymns.
Now they are whistling and singing around the Throne.
This blog: No Room for Christmas Child, gives you another glimpse of my parents and my birth. It has been translated into Norwegian and has appeared in an online Norwegian magazine as well. My saga and my recollections of my parents are all over my blogs - I encourage you to check them out: Sounds of Hope and Storehouses of Snow.