Monday, November 7, 2011

Introducing the Bryan Clan....Part II

     Okay......I have here the next pair of Bryan kids........both girls.......

     When the second of these two was felt like I was still caring for the same baby......sometimes I panicked when I saw that her chest scar was gone...but, do read this will make more sense......

Kid #3       

     I went into labor with Sarah, now 18 years old, exactly one year to the day that I had experienced my only miscarriage (at nine weeks……and because I miscarried on St. Valentine’s day, we named the little fella Valentine).  She has always felt a special relationship to her barely older sibling….especially because she never would have been here if it was not for that loss….plus, their birth days are only a day apart (plus the year).  She is fond of begging his intercession.  Born at home in 1990, we had two sweet days with our wee lass before the midwife discovered a heart murmur that sent us down to San Francisco for three weeks of medical care, including open-heart surgery to rebuild and repair a rare congenital heart defect.  She has an inner beauty to match her lovely outer beauty.....even at birth.......the NICU nurses noticed her specialness immediately. I think it was her large, gorgeous cat eyes.

Sarah Elizabeth

     Sarah recovered well and grew as expected, into a sweet cuddly girl.  She cuddled with everyone she met.  My husband used to call her a “male magnet” because males of all ages seemed attracted to her beautiful soul.  I had several older men offer to be her “adopted grandfather” they adored her so much. As they were perfect strangers, we did not go there.   : ) As a little girl, Sarah was a sweet delight......singing and dancing all the day long.  She has a very active imagination.  She is extremely creative.  Her ability to draw is the best in the family.......though her youngest brother seems to be following in her wake.  Arts and crafts have always been among her forte.

     When she was five years old, Sarah asked Mrs. Westrick, who was babysitting the kids while I went to a week-long class, if the older lady would “cut her some bangs”.  Of course the woman said:  “No!  Your mother would never forgive me if I did that without her knowledge!”  Well, later that day, Sarah took it upon herself to cut her own bangs.  She made a perfect cut!  She was quite cute with her new hairdo. That was the beginning of her hair expertise.  Her sisters and friends turn their hair over to her quite frequently, trusting Sarah’s natural ability to bring their hair to beautiful presentation.

     About half-way through her life, Sarah became more quiet and contemplative and no longer cuddling with every stranger.  : )  That was quite a surprise, and somewhat of a relief.

     Sarah has many special gifts.  Besides everything artsy, she is amazing in the kitchen.  Her father loves to have her work by his side, cooking and creating.  She enjoys acting. She is an excellent dancer. For her senior project last year, she envisioned a formal gown......drew a picture of it from her mind.......and with her mentor nearby, sewed the beautiful gown. I was so proud of her. She has a special way with fashion.  In fact, as I think about it, Sarah approaches everything in life as if it is art. I love that about her. 

Sarah in the gown she designed and sewed

     Sarah has big dreams......and one of her dreams includes travel.  Last year, she was able to complete her junior and senior years in one so that she could graduate a year early and spend her last year of schooling as an exchange student.  In August, she flew to Europe where she is spending a year in Austria, living with host families, learning their culture, making life-long friends and becoming fluent in German.  I am sure this classical music-loving and ballroom dance-loving girl is especially going to enjoy Vienna.  I am not jealous.  Okay, that’s a fib.  : )

     Sarah’s primary love language is “words of affirmation” and her secondary is probably “acts of service.”  Sometimes someone will get out all of the ingredients they need to make something the next morning only to find that Miss Acts-of-Service has put it all away in her effort to do service.  : )  Gotta love my girl. 

     I really miss her.  I want her to have an amazing year in Austria…….but I cannot wait to see behold her beautiful face again!

Kid #4

     My youngest lass was born at home, in the room in which she now resides, on May 5th, 1995. I consider her birth my favorite.  Born just 6 minutes after the midwife arrived, she was my tiniest at 6 lbs, 6oz.  She is still the age 16, Her Petiteness is just under five foot.  An adorable girl with big brown eyes, she is named Maddelyn Claire, for my mother-in-law, Marilyn Claire, who had died shortly after my husband and I were married.  I love my sweet girl’s name.  And so does she.  Sometimes I call her by the Latin translation that she was baptised by:  Madelena Clarum.  Simply beautiful.

Maddelyn Claire

      From the age of two weeks, we were surprised to find that she could take note of any time that her parents were not the ones holding her.  Eventually, we would find that “change” of any kind was not part of her preferences.  This made for a challenging toddlerhood....especially when it came to getting dressed, brushing teeth or in relation to placemats.......but oh, was she cute!  I loved dressing her up!  She made for the cutest baby pictures with her sweet smile.

     Age five was a good year for Miss Maddelyn as she began to learn to adapt to the changes life brings us daily. She loved to play with her older siblings.  She was (and is) definitely a girly she and her sisters had lovely times.  We discovered she could play the piano before she had even started lessons.......and so at this age, began formal lessons.  She is a wonderful pianist and works hard at practicing.  We so enjoy her musicianship. 

playing at the May, 2011 recital

     Maddelyn is a great little actress who has had several great roles.  My favorite is when she played Brigetta in a full-Broadway version of The Sound of Music.  She wowed us the following year taking on Alice in a two-person Alice In Wonderland play.  Even in small roles, she seems to be a memorable character, according to audiences.  Maddelyn is the one of my six who learned to read the earliest....and at a young age became a great Dickens fan.  One of her life goals is to own a complete and matching set of Dickens’ works.  She is a voracious reader and plugs away diligently at many difficult books.  She is an astute student, focusing well on her studies.....especially enjoying the history……a common theme around here.  I appreciate her ability to self-educate.  I do believe that if we allow her to stay home, self-educating at her pace and her own choice of topics.....she would stay here forever.  : )

      Maddelyn is a wonderful companion to her older sisters.  She is a great little knitter.  She loves words....reading them, twisting them, playing with them, arguing with them.  She loves her cups of tea.  She loves to read.  She is a smart little cookie and has great questions.....many of which I am unable to answer.  Her love language is touch so she will be found cuddling a couple of times a day, with someone.  Her personality is very strongly set on literalness and justice.

     One of my most favorite recent memories of Maddelyn is of our visit to Hawaii.  We made wonderful discoveries and memories.  She and her sister Sarah were perfect traveling companions, to myself and each other. I will always treasure those lovely warm and adventurous days. 

Maddelyn & Sarah in Hawaii, June 2011
...before they cut their hair short......


....and the final two kids will follow soon......



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