Friday, August 5, 2011

My Daughter Kay

It seems like yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital.  I was so happy that she was a girl and that I could start sewing for her.  I can still remember the first dress I made.  She was probably 3 months old.  She was a beautiful baby at 8 lbs. 9 oz. and only 18 inches long.  She was like a square.  She had no neck to speak of and I never had to worry about her head falling back.  She had dark hair but not enough for people to see that she was a girl.  I would twist the little bit on top of her head and put a small barrette in it.  I wanted to take her everywhere with me I was so happy.

We realized that it was going to be hard with my husband in graduate school and me having to go back to work at six weeks.  I also typed a dissertation for a German priest who was in my husband's graduate class during my six weeks at home.  That was when you had typewriters and if there was a mistake you started over on the page.  I have always loved to type and was good at it.  I could type 80 wpm on a manual typewriter in business school. 

When the time came to go back to work, Nanny came everyday to take care of her.  My mom would drop her off on her way to work and pick her up on the way home.  I would come home to the smell of cooked food, a clean baby, and an apartment that was neat as a pin.  Nanny worked at times as a live in babysitter for rich people when they brought there babies home from the hospital or went on vacation.  She was great with babies and taught me so much.  I am so happy I listened to her and remembered over 8 years latter when our son was born.  She told me that for the next two years Kay was the most important thing.  She showed me how to wrap her up so her arms did not fling out and startle her and how to keep her on a strict schedule with eating and sleeping.  She was sleeping all night by the time I had to go back to work.  I do not think I had any stress during my first year with a new baby and a new job.

When she was two years old, we moved into a duplex and had a yard.  There was a shopping center just a block away that had a fabric store in it.  I would put her in her stroller and go to the shop.  I started noticing how she wanted to feel all the material.  That is when I realized that I did the same thing.  Babies pick up on everything you do.  We bought her petal car that had a wind-up radio in it for her third birthday.  We lived on a corner lot and there was some traffic.  When she first started riding the car, we drew a chalk line across the double driveway and told her that was as far as she could go.  She never crossed it.  At Halloween that year someone had thrown a pumpkin in the street and it had been run over by a car.  We walked out to it and I told her that this is why she was never to go in the street without someone holding her hand.  She was so serious but she understood.  I could trust her not to ride her car into the street. 

She was such a little lady.  She was not around other kids but there were a lot of adults from the graduate school around.  She would sit next to me when they were over and you would think she understood everything about economics that there was.  I never bought any toys that were loud or you had to run around to play with them.  I loved puzzles, books, Playschool toys, and her favorite Matchbox cars.  Dolls were of no interest to her.  We would play games at the grocery about spotting a certain color or "Do You See What I See."  She always had to sit in the basket and never knew she had a choice.  When we moved to Omaha, she was four and the house we rented was on a block where everyone had five or six kids.  She pick up how much fun it was to have playmates.  I did not let her go inside there homes or bring the kids into ours except when a special invitation was given. 

The people who lived next door were in their 70's and two of their daughters lived with them.  The dad had diabetes and one of his legs had recently been amputated.  He would sit on his front porch during the day and would say hello but he was not a talker normally.  One day I went out on my porch and looked over and Kay was sitting next to him carrying on a conversation about something.  This became a normal daily routine with them.  I think kids should have attention from adults and that they should learn to be a joy to be around.  I would never allow my kids to jump on furniture or race through the house.  Crying was something you did in your room with the door shut if you like doing it.  It was always funny how they get quiet in a few minutes and then start singing. 

There was a lot of snow in Omaha and I found that I had a lot of trouble staying on my feet sometimes.  I remember Kay telling me she did not want to hold my hand in the snow because I fell down.

Now for the bad part.  She never had any interest in doing handwork or sewing and neither was she interested in messing with her hair or using makeup.  I tried and tried to get her interested in doing things with her hands.  I finally gave up.  Her love was cars, pets of all kinds, and pretending.  So for the next 15 years, she had cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, etc.  She had her Matchbox cars wrapped in Kleenex in their drawer.  She was and still is an immaculate housekeeper.  She and her husband have an eight car garage where they keep their show cars.  You could live in the garage it is so neat.  During this time we did discover that she could draw.  If she could see a picture, she could draw it any size.  She loves pencil drawing.  I tried to encourage her to do it professionally but she just wanted to do it for herself.

When she was a junior in high school, her best friend introduced her to a guy who would one day be her husband.  He went to another school across town and would ride his bike to our house, eat dinner with us, and we would put his bike in our car and take him home.  He was a year younger than she was a boy were we glad when he was old enough to drive.  His dad had died right after Kay met him and his mother could not drive.  I had told Kay often that no man is ready to marry until he was 21 years old.  Words I heard from my mother.  They waited six years to get married and by that time I felt I had three wonderful kids.  I take credit for helping Gary to be the great person he is today.

Kay got a two-year degree from our community college as did Gary.  Kay went to work at our library and Gary went to work for Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) where his father had worked.  He started out as a computer programmer and is now the head of the IT Department.  Today they have a daughter who will be getting married Oct. 1, a large home here, and another one in Florida.  I am very proud of their family and the love the three of them have for each other.

This is my granddaughter and Kay.

This is Kay and Gary.


  1. Awww....the love you have for your family is woven in the words of this post. Beautiful.
    How blessed you were to have your Nanny. And Kay looks just lovely with her daughter.

  2. This blog is a treasure to last forever.


  3. I sometimes have trouble telling people how I feel about things. I keep a lot inside of me. I am hoping this will give them a feeling about how I looked at things and how important they all are to me.