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.
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.
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?
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 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 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.
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, 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.
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.
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?