Sunday, January 8, 2012

I Was the Fourth

My thoughts have been so much on family for the last few days. With the loss of my sweet Uncle Glenn this week and all the trappings that come with it, it's no wonder, really, that my heart has been beating in rhythm with my dear ones on the other side. My thoughts have been full of my sisters and  mother, wondering if they have been close to us as we wept goodbye and they smiled hello. I often think of them, but the ache is a bit more poignant with the new grief.
My Momma... she was one of those moms that seemed to come knowing what a "real" mother was. There were eventually nine of us, or ten, or eleven or maybe twelve when you take into account foster children and a miscarriage. There were six sisters born all in a row, then three brothers.  As I have grown into adulthood I've considered the effect of six girls on the dynamics of a family. Can you imagine, in days before sonograms, what it must have been like to hear the announcement from the Dr. that it was a girl? ...again?
Mom and dad loved us.  It didn't seem to matter all that much that it was girl, after girl, after girl, or at least it appeared as if that were true, to the six of us before the boys came.  Only now, realizing the humanness of my beautiful mother, do I understand there must have been moments...

Another Head of Hair

A girl again. Another head of hair
to comb, and worries later on, along
with bras and fits of tears, long-legged boys.
But that, with any luck, was still some years 
away.  Today her fears for fierce-eyed girls
were few.  Her guarded thoughts would hold no more
than toes of mottled pink, a mewling mouth,
a pursed, exacting pout of innocent
insistence, siren, demanding more of her
than merely life.  This fragile doll,
diminutive, with Heaven's Breath still clinched
inside her fists, her feather wisps of hair
still drenched with perfect evidence of grace,
was now another care, another need
of her.  She stretched her tired, pliant neck,
her scarlet-ribboned stomach empty now,
it's fullness broken. She bent, kissed tiny curls.

Susan Nielson
Fourth daughter born to: 

Neva Joy Lee


  1. I love your sweet mother she is a diamonds amoung the stones!

  2. You mother opened her heart and let me know she loved me. She changed my life, and I love her too.