My oldest turned 26 last Sunday.
After a difficult 36 hour labor, Christina was born three days after our first anniversary to green parents who didn’t know much and learned as they went.
Memories flash through my mind like a slide show.
7 weeks - Working at a Labor Day Family Camp before the advent of portable play pens, we had her sleep in an empty potato box.
Me wanting a baby gate so she wouldn’t fall down the stairs. Keith insisting she could learn to maneuver stairs. Under his tutelage, at 10 months of age, she could go up and down like nobody’s business.
Having a convulsion at 16 months old and scaring her mother spitless. The cause never determined, but thankfully she never had another one.
Having an uncanny sense of balance and loving to spin in circles. Clutching the walkman (a gift from Keith’s parents for her second birthday), listening to a Sunday School songs tape, and spinning in circles for long periods of time.
Age 2 – Perched in a carseat in the second row of our packed-to-the-gills old blue Volkswagen Van, surrounded by boxes containing all our worldly possessions as we drove from Colorado Springs to Portland, Oregon where Keith planned to attend seminary.
Age 2 ½ - Not especially happy to have a baby brother. Seemed to resent his intrusion into her life. Took all his clothes out of his drawers and hid them in the closet.
Age 3 – Asked to play church. Stood up and said, “Let’s sing #55.” After “leading” a few songs, she announced, “Now it’s time for the snacks.” (meaning communion.)
Reading lots of books to her. Bus rides to the library storytime. Coming home with a big bag of books. Many hours with our nose in a book.
Fighting with Andrew while I nursed her baby sister Kiah. After figuring out how to read books to them while nursing a baby, at feeding time I plopped one child on each side of me and we read.
Age 6 - Loving Laura Ingalls Wilder and having a Little House on the Prairie birthday party. My sister made her the happiest girl in the world by giving her an old-fashioned sunbonnet. She proudly walked down a busy street in Portland, dressed in her prairie girl dress and sunbonnet, oblivious that no one else was dressed like her.
Age 6 - Moving back to a Denver suburb after her Daddy finished seminary.
Catching a stray cat and convincing it to stay and become the first Vik family pet. “Jennifer” lived for another 10 years.
Baking and decorating her own 7th birthday cake because Mom was flat on her back with a ruptured disc. Christina helped a lot as I recovered from back surgery.
Age 8 – Her first experience with grief. Keith’s Dad died unexpectedly at age 70 from a massive heart attack.
Age 10 – Staying overnight with me in the hospital after the birth of her fourth sibling, Anna.
We escaped from our cramped 2 bedroom basement apartment in a huge city and moved to eight acres and an old farmhouse in rural Iowa. So thankful to at last be living near her Grandma and Aunt Karen.
Climbing trees, designing tree forts, raising chickens, countless hours at the local public pool, Legos, 4-H, Fair projects, books, friends, and kittens.
Age 14 – discovered Scrapbooking. I’m rigid and formulaic. She’s an artist. Started going with me once a week on “Mom’s Night Out” to scrapbook or make cards with my friends.
Age 15 – First job, helped with an afterschool program at the library. Loved her boss and enjoyed the job.
Developed a strong interest in politics. Made a scrapbook of political articles. Sent a homemade card to congratulate Iowa's Senator Chuck Grassley on a recent political win.
Graduated at 17 and promptly left home to be a summer camp counselor at Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je in Colorado.
Came home and worked at a Daycare to save money for her next adventure.
Age 18 – Summer spent at Village Creek Bible Camp as a wrangler.
Age 19 – YWAM Bible School (Youth With a Mission) in Townsville, Australia. Keith and I didn’t sleep for two days until we knew she’d arrived there safely. She had a whopping good time. After a six weeks Mission trip to Thailand she spent a week in New Zealand before returning home.
After two years at a local community college, she transferred to Iowa State University in Ames, IA to study Political Science and International Studies. She did a semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina (with side trips to Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil) and studied a school year in Spain (with side trips to Ireland, England, and Morocco.)
While in Spain she became a devoted listener to Dave Ramsey podcasts. Impressed with the importance of getting out of debt, she moved home after graduating from college to pay off school loans.
Next on the horizon – Chipping away at her Bucket List and starting Nursing school with Kiah in the fall.
She survived inexperienced parents and grew up to be an interesting, intelligent, determined, and adventurous person.
Tonight we’ll celebrate with a big birthday dinner with family and friends. So thankful for birthdays to remind us of our blessings.
Happy Birthday Sweetie, we love you.