Once upon a New Year’s Eve

Once upon a black-haired baby

Once upon a black-haired baby

Once upon a time there were three little bears living in our Little House in the Big Woods in Aura, Michigan.  Mama Bear, Daddy Bear and Baby Bear.  One day Mama Bear told Daddy Bear that there was another bear who wanted to come live with them.

Daddy Bear didn’t believe it at first, but it was true.  Mama Bear started getting bigger and bigger, even though she didn’t eat any more porridge each morning.

It became obvious that Baby Bear would soon have a new brother or sister.  Mama Bear was sure it would be another boy because she had visions of two boys running helter-skelter in the ravine behind the house.  (She also really secretly wanted a girl-baby, but didn’t want to be disappointed, you know how it is.)

As the darkest days of December approached in 1985 (see, it wasn’t THAT long ago) Mama Bear suddenly switched allegiances   It now felt like a girl nesting inside, preparing to join the family.   (She still didn’t want to be disappointed, so she reminded herself of the vision.)

Once upon a New Year’s Eve those long, long years ago a baby girl came squalling into the world, a bright brand new spanking baby girl, a delight, a joy, a new addition to the Bear family, a black-haired red-faced angel we named Kiah Michelle.

Look at Baby's pretty black hair standing straight up!

Look at Baby’s pretty black hair standing straight up!

Now where did Baby get that black hair?  Wasn’t it pretty?  Mama loved it especially when it stuck straight up in the air.  She was a punk rock star and not yet three months old.

The grandmas, however, wanted her more civilized for photos and carefully smoothed it down into shape and order.

The grandmas liked to make her hair look more manageable.

The grandmas liked to make her hair look more manageable.

Baby grew faster than a garden weed and guess what?  By spring her black hair turned into goldilocks!     We were all smitten with our new baby bear, whom I shall now cease referring to as a bear, as stories must change when babies grow beyond fairy tales, mustn’t they?

...Whose hair then turned blonde...

…Whose hair then turned blonde…

Our wee sprite grew and grew and grew.  Mama fed her refried beans and broccoli soon after breast milk.  Baby then decided she was a picky eater for the next decade or so.

She brought joy to our Little House in the Big Woods.

She brought joy to our Little House in the Big Woods.

She was a strong-willed sprite even then.  She always knew what she wanted–or at least was willing to vocally express what she thought she wanted without hesitation.  (Her mama has been learning how to do this from watching her all these years.  That’s the best part about children, isn’t it?  They stretch us from our preconceived boundaries, if we let them.)

She grew into her own spark, her own spirit, and we loved her so...

She grew into her own spark, her own spirit, and we loved her so…

She shined as a bright light in our Little House in the Big Woods.  People in the grocery store would smile when they saw her.  They ignored the rest of us, their eyes magnetically drawn to her.

She was sugar and spice, naughty and nice, everything little girls are made of.

She was sugar and spice, naughty and nice, everything little girls are made of.

And yet she grew up to be rather quiet, not someone needing to be around people.  She liked her books and movies, her alone times, her quiet times, but, sorry, I am leaping ahead in our story because in your minds she’s still a little girl, isn’t she, as you look at these photos?

Her big brother adored her (most of the time)

Her big brother adored her (most of the time)

Her big brother, Christopher, adored her.  She followed him around like a little puppy.  He taught her all his woods tricks.  They played Blind Dog, blindfolding each other, leading one another through the woods.  When the leader stopped, the blindfolded one must identify the location.  (I think.  I never played Blind Dog, so don’t ask a hapless mother.)

As for the vision her mama experienced of two boys playing in the ravine:  that did come true.  One day, when Chris was about eight, he had a good friend over.  They were whooping and hollering in the ravine (while we girls looked on askance) and I suddenly smiled and thought–yes–that was the vision.  That was it exactly.

And she learned how to be a Ninja warrior, a child of the woods, from him.

And she learned how to be a Ninja warrior, a child of the woods, from him.

OK, dear readers, you may look at the photos for a while and watch our little girl growing up, up, up because I think she would rather have you look at pictures rather than listen to her mama talk about her.

She made friends down by the lake.

She made friends down by the lake.

And she *kinda* made friends with mermaids, too.

And she *kinda* made friends with mermaids, too.

She and her brother built huge snow forts.

She and her brother built huge snow forts.

And helped us fill the wood room (sort of helped, that is)

And helped us fill the wood room (sort of helped, that is)

And went on assignments with Dad on the Big Lake

And went on assignments with Dad on the Big Lake

And teased us...

And teased us…

And helped her daddy build his garage (sort of)

And helped her daddy build his garage (sort of)

She skated through most of her elementary and junior high and high school years...

She skated through most of her elementary and junior high and high school years…

And we wouldn't have traded her (except for maybe some of those teenage years...but, no, not even then...)

And we wouldn’t have traded her (except for maybe some of those teenage years…but, no, not even then…)

We asked her, "If someone jumped off a cliff into the lake, would you jump, too?"

We asked her, “If someone jumped off a cliff into the lake, would you jump, too?”

And off to college she did go.

And off to college she did go.

And home from college she did come.

And home from college she did come.

She still liked to spend time with her brother...

She still liked to spend time with her brother…

And visit her grandmas and grandpas.

And visit her grandmas and grandpas.

And travel with her mama to Europe.

And travel with her mama to Europe.

And save her mama from Roman gladiators who scammed them (NOT!)

And save her mama from Roman gladiators who scammed them (NOT!)

And bring her boyfriend, Diaa, to California to meet her brother

And bring her boyfriend, Diaa, to California to meet her brother

And travel to her brother's wedding this past October.

And travel to her brother’s wedding this past October.

Kiah, we love you lots!

Kiah, we love you lots!

It is her parent’s joy to have our girl home to celebrate her 27th birthday today–another New Year’s Eve–even though she and her dad have had a bad cold this past week.  As many of you know she lives in New York City, so we don’t get to spend enough time with her.

Happy Birthday, dear Kiah!  We are so proud of you.  You still shine like a bright light in our Little House in the Big Woods.

P.S.  We are still glad that you were born on New Year’s Eve because we got a nice tax deduction back in 1985!  We had enough to buy a rowboat.  See how many fun gifts you’ve given us?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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54 Responses to Once upon a New Year’s Eve

  1. me2013 says:

    Thank you for sharing, A very Happy New Year to you and yours

  2. Sara says:

    Pretty cool that you actually had a New Year’s baby. She’s grown into quite a beauty. Have a marvelous time celebrating the New Year and your lovely daughter’s birthday.

  3. Oh your babies are grown up. You guys look like you had such a good time! I hope we are as happy as you guys are when our kids are all grown up! Happy New Year !!!

  4. P.j. grath says:

    What fun to have a New Year’s Eve birthday–the whole world celebrates with Kiah every year!

  5. sonali says:

    So lovely! Wishing Kiah a very happy birthday and happy new years to you all. May you all be blessed this new year & forever. Kiah is so adorable! She seems to be so much fun to be around with. Nice blog post for a daughter, and I’m sure she’l be glad to have a mother like you kathy. New years eve is indeed made even more special by your little Elf 😀

  6. Karma says:

    What a fun blog post! Thanks for sharing. How cool that Kiah has parties all over the world on her birthday! Happy Birthday Kiah and Happy New Year to everyone at the little house in the big woods.

  7. jeffstroud says:

    How sweet ! and look at all those childhood photos Oh My!

    Happy Birthday Kiah !

    Happy New Year to you all ! ((Hugs))

  8. Ah, I know the feeling so well. She has drown into a lovely and capable young woman. I can feel the pride in your words as well as your love. Enjoy her time with you this day.

    Happy Birthday, Kiah!

  9. A lovely story…. I can imagine your joy with a baby girl! Happy New Year and Happy Birthday Kiah!

  10. What a sweet story, Kathy. Love the pictures, too.

  11. Christie Eagan says:

    Great story Kathy. Hope you have a wonderful 27th birthday and Happy New Year with Kiah.

  12. Happy Birthday to Kiah! Thanks for sharing your happy memories, Kathy!

  13. bonnie says:

    Beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing. Happy Birthday Kiah, and the best of the New Year to all.

  14. That’s such a great, big wonderful reason to celebrate New Year’s! Happy Birthday to Kiah and Happy New Year to you and your family, Kathy. What a nice peek into your lives you’ve shared with us.

  15. Joanne says:

    Happy Birthday Kiah! Wasn’t 1985 a fabulous year to brings new baby bears, um, babies into the world Kathy? That was the year that my first son, Ben, was born. I just love seeing Kiah and Christopher’s photos here, seeing them grow year by year into the wonderful adults that they now are. And a Happy New Year to all of the Bears in the Little House in the Big Woods. 🙂

  16. Happy Birthday to Kiah…a great story in words and photos! Hope they are all better and you have a great New Year’s Eve and a great 2013.

  17. Susan D. says:

    So beautiful … smiles and sweet tears. Lovely, fun tribute on Kiah’s 27th. Happy Birthday to her, and many, many more to all the Bears!

  18. Lori DiNardi says:

    Very touching. I can feel the love. Happy Birthday, Kiah, and blessings to your family in the new year.

  19. My, oh my. How time flies as our children grow, sprout wings and fly away and then sometimes return to the nest. Your daughter looks like a sweetheart and is so pretty. That’s a lovely story. Now for my story. Not really! But I also have a New Year’s eve baby who today will be 47 years old. Unlike your little baby bear who lives far away, mine only lives 12 miles from my house. He lives in a rural area. And I have got to get on a stick and get a crisp bill from the bank for his birthday. I enjoyed your family pictures.

    Happy New Year, Kathy

  20. Stacy says:

    Oh, the joy of having a daughter! Kiah is a beautiful woman, just like her mother. Tell her Stacy said happy birthday all the way from the bayous of Louisiana.

    And happy new year to all of you up there in the Big Woods! ❤

  21. Marianne says:

    A tax break, that’s hilarious, Kathy! Nice finish! hehehe! I remember those tax break years. We got tax breaks for getting married in December as well. Did you? I think those days are gone now.
    Anyway, all kidding aside, this is a lovely tribute to your beautiful daughter, Kiah. Happy Birthday, Kiah!! Wishing you an awesome 2013!
    Happy New Year, Kathy! Wishing you an awesome year as well!

  22. Bhee says:

    Thank you for sharing! ❤ Happy New Year Kathy and Happy Birthday to Kiah! 🙂 XO

  23. Oh my gosh, balling my eyes out (happy tears) with this wonderful post. Happy birthday, Kiah!

    [I stopped crying and started laughing when I got to the photo of Barry holding the troll with lavender hair (mine had orange hair)]…

  24. Lovely tribute – and Happy birthday Kiah

  25. Elisa says:

    Happy Birthday Kiah!

  26. Brenda Hardie says:

    What a lovely tribute to your precious daughter, Kiah! Happy Birthday Kiah! I love how you said this “She shined as a bright light in our Little House in the Big Woods.” ♥ Oh and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I saw her black hair standing straight up because my Ben’s hair did the very same thing!! He was my baby rock star and has grown into a rock star in his own right–although it’s not his life ambition. Such beautiful memories and pictures you shared–thank you Kathy! That snow fort is AMAZING!! 🙂

  27. Robin says:

    Beautiful post. Happy Birthday to Kiah. And a joyful 2013 to you and yours, Kathy. 🙂

  28. Connie T says:

    Did you win any prizes with her being a New Year Eve baby or does that only apply to after midnight? Happy New Year. You got a great gift that year. I like the pictures. The best one was the snow fort, that is huge and you and her on the boat in Venice, I assume.

  29. Dawn says:

    Excellent story….so fun to watch her grow up before our eyes….have a very wonderful New Years Eve tonight in your little house in the big woods.

  30. Janet says:

    So sweet, a beautiful “Happy Birthday” blog for your daughter.

  31. Heather says:

    Happy Birthday Kiah. You are lucky (like me!) to have a mama who loves you so much.
    Kathy, what a fantastic story, in words, pictures and captions celebrating your daughter’s life. How very magical and sweet. I am bordering on tears and know I would be wiping my eyes if my mama penned this tribute. (Hers normally come in sweet, sweet phone calls 🙂
    Happy New Year!

  32. Val says:

    Lovely post, Kathy. Hugs – to you – and to Kiah for her birthday.
    I absolutely LOVE the snow fort, by the way! 🙂

  33. Dawn says:

    Happy New Year love to you and yours. *hugs*

    You look even younger and better today. 🙂 rock it lady.

  34. john says:

    What a wonderful way to welcome in the New Year, Happy Birthday Kiah!!!

  35. Gay Herron says:

    My son, Justin, is a new year’s eve baby as well! He just turned 32, time does go by so quickly doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing all the pictures, and beautiful thoughts, Happy New Year’s and Happy Birthday Kiah and Justin!!

  36. Barb says:

    My gosh – those snow forts! Happy Birthday Kiah! I came by to wish your Mama HAPPY 2013, but that will have to wait. It’s Happy Kiah Day instead.

  37. rehill56 says:

    Happy Birthday Kiah! So glad you got to visit! Happy New Year and new adventures to all of you! Loved the photos!

  38. bearyweather says:

    This post is a wonderful gift (for you and a your daughter) … life is amazing!

    Happy New Year!

  39. Oh, Happy Birthday, Kiah! Love all of these precious photos, Kathy!

    I’ve been away from the blogosphere over the holidays but hope to get back on track this week. I’ve missed you. Happy New Year, my friend.

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  40. Kiah says:

    Thank you everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes! And thank you, Mama, for the wonderful birthday blog! Happy New Year! xoxo

  41. dearrosie says:

    Hi Kiah – Look over here behind you for more birthday greetings!

    What a lovely nostalgic post Kathy! Many Happy New Year greetings.
    I also love the snow fort!

  42. territerri says:

    What a beautiful name you gave your little bear, and what a blessing she has been to you. Happy Birthday to your “little” girl and Happy New Year to all of you!

  43. Georgia Mom says:

    GRANDPA DRUE MET ME IN THE DRIVEWAY AND ANNOUNCED ON THAT NEW YEARS DAY, ‘WE HAVE A GIRL IN THE FAMILY NOW.’ SHE HAS BEEN AND WILL ALWAYS BE A JOY TO ALL OF US.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KIAH!

  44. AnnieR says:

    Great story and I love how you told us! My sister had that same hair when she was born. Drove my mom nuts as it would not stay down even with Dippity-Do or Aqua Net. Happy New Year to you and yours!

  45. Kathy says:

    Thank you SO MUCH, everyone, for the kind comments and Happy Birthday wishes for our second born baby girl. Our vacation with her is almost over–she’ll be flying back to NYC soon. It’s been a wonderful time. Thank you again for pausing here to share your well wishes.

  46. lisaspiral says:

    A celebration of Kiah! It will be hard to let her go back to the big city. I hope she’s not too terribly embarrassed by you gushing. We are delighted. Happy New Year to all of your bears!

    • Kathy says:

      (Believe it or not, I don’t believe she WAS embarrassed by the gushing. I asked her first if it was OK to post this. Because, you see, I had gushed so much over her brother last March 13th on HIS birthday, she was probably secretly wanting to see the score tied.)

  47. I was wondering if you were going to wait until Kiah was 30 before posting a birthday tribute to her, and now I have my answer. 🙂 This story was told so lovingly, Kathy, I’m still sniffling. How quickly fly the years, especially when you can see them speeding by in a series of pictures. Happy Birthday, Kiah!

  48. Kathy says:

    Thank you again, my friends and family! You guys are the best, for stopping to read and comment and share the love…

  49. sybil says:

    Lovely post Kathy.

    Ummmm. Errrrr. Your husband doesn’t still have those shorts I hope ?

  50. Munira says:

    Loved this post! Kiah is lovely 🙂 A belated birthday wish from me to her and to her lovely Mommy of course!

Although I don't reply to every comment on every blog, I do read all comments with mesmerized interest and try to return the favor by visiting YOUR blog or at least sending you heartfelt well wishes.

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