She took her time. A long, long....long time. She would get here her own way and at her own pace.
We all waited in a little room with old magazines with several other nervous families, telling jokes and eating snacks.
Hours and hours later, Talitha, my exhausted daughter, delivered a ruddy bundle of energy into the world: Kendall Della Kartler.
Her middle name was a gift from her Dad’s delightful grandmother.
Her last name came from her father’s German/Romanian heritage.
Her first name floated out of heaven into a book of baby’s names. Once Talitha and Tyson read the name aloud, magic leapt from the book into Talitha’s womb, where it stamped itself on the little girl inside. That is why, when Kendall burst into the world, she was already carrying three names, her families’ stories, layers and layer of mischief, and the most infectious smile you have ever seen.
I wouldn’t get a chance to enjoy Kendall for the first few months of her life.
A week after Kendall was born, Trish had an aneurysm. She would gradually wake up over several weeks and then take several months to reenter her life. The trauma of those months would trust our family into a series of changes. That is why I am in Nashville, Tennessee now, writing about my granddaughter’s birthday while she is in Phoenix, Arizona.
I called her this morning though, as she was getting ready for school. I will call later today, on Skype because she wants me to see her new earrings.
Meanwhile, I am thinking about several other things that occurred on this date.
Sarah Josepha Hale wrote Mary had a Little Lamb in 1830.
Samuel Morris sent the world’s first telegraph message from Washington D.C. to Baltimore in 1844.
Zacchary Taylor captured Monterrey, Mexico in 1846.
Queen Victoria was born in 1819.
It’s the feast day of St. Methodius and St. Cyril, missionaries to the Slavs.
All of those things are important, and, as I think about them, somewhat connected to what I think is the important story of the day.
Zacchary Taylor was in Monterrey because the American government was busy at the time chopping off the Northern states of Mexico. The first great wave of Mexican immigrants into the United States was thus made possible, simply by moving the border several hundred miles to the south. This American expansion into Mexico cut the Mexican state of Sonora in half, creating the territory of Arizona. That is where Kendall would be born one hundred and fifty eight years later.
As for St. Methodius and Cyril; they converted my son-in-law’s ancestors in Romania.
We sang Mary had a Little Lamb to Kendall when she was little, so a special word of thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale. I don’t think Kendall liked the song all that much. However, everyone knows that it is mandatory for English-speaking parents to sing the silly song to babies, so we did. I would like to go on record saying that the way Kendall rearranged the lyrics was not our fault.
I don’t think Queen Victoria would have approved of my granddaughter’s way of expressing herself. Kendall was simply not made for a Victorian age. Fortunately, the two were not forced to live at the same time in history. So, other than sharing a birthday, I simply cannot find any way to connect the icon of English propriety and protocol to my granddaughter.
Finally, I suppose that had Samuel Morris not invented the telegraph, Alexander Graham Bell might not have invented the telephone. The telephone made the internet possible. That’s how I will be able to see Kendall’s new earrings here in Tennessee. So my answer to Morris’s famous message – “what has God wrought?” – is, “a mischievous six year old with new earrings.” I have no idea what he would think about that but it’s all I have for him today.
Speaking of the past -- I recently discovered that my wife is a direct descendant of Suzanna Wesley. That makes Kendall one of Suzanna’s daughters. If the people up in Heaven see us – as I think they do – then perhaps Suzanna Wesley, along with all those who contributed to make this delightful little girl all that she is, are smiling at what they see. If she – and all the rest of Kendall’s ancestors have the sort of judgment I think they have, they are all agreeing with me that they did a good job.
May God grant all of us who are a little closer, and a bit more directly responsible for her well-being, do all we can to help her grow into the gifted, spirited and unique person she is already becoming.
Happy Birthday, Kendall Della Kartler.