EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an exercise in self-flagellation we bloggers inflict upon ourselves to teach us discipline as writers and to build audience. During the month of April, I’ll be posting 26 times, once for every letter in the alphabet. Looking on the bright side, we can each be thankful this is an English language exercise and not Khmer, the language of Cambodia, which sets the world record with a 74-character alphabet! After some misgivings, I’ve decided to proceed with my initial idea of blogging about the special people in my life whose names begin with the appropriate letter. There will be difficulties, like having more than one special person whose names begin with the same letter, forcing me to choose. And then there are those letters — O, Q and X among them — where no name springs readily to mind. What will I do then? We’ll have to wait and see!
L is for Leah
There’s nothing like the arrival of a first child to make you realize just how much you don’t know. Fortunately for Leah, our fumbling first attempts at parenthood probably helped her grow into the resilient woman she is today.
I remember her birth well enough, but what came immediately after was a daze, until it was finally time to take our baby home. I remember putting Leah into the new car seat that was strapped into our silver Volkswagen Rabbit. Once behind the wheel, I probably never again drove so carefully.
The first problem became apparent during the initial diaper change. The hospital had failed to remove Leah’s umbilical clamp, and it freaked us out. We probably should have just waited until her first pediatric checkup in a couple of days, but back then, we felt we had to drive back to the hospital immediately, even though it was freezing cold in Santa Fe, N.M. that April evening.
By the time we got back home, Leah was screaming, her mother was crying, and I was thinking that joining the French Foreign Legion seemed like a great idea. Fortunately for us, a couple of salty veterans — my parents — were on the scene after driving to New Mexico from Central Texas. My mother took her new granddaughter in her arms, and the crying stopped almost immediately, Leah perhaps sensing that she was finally in competent hands.
Growing up, my oldest daughter only disappointed me once, and that was when she couldn’t spell “biscuit” during a sixth-grade spelling bee. Everything else was smooth sailing, and it’s impossible to convey what a great feeling it is to think back and realize that “hey, that kid didn’t give me any problems!”
Now the mother of three rambunctious boys, Leah balances her busy home life with her career as an RN at Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the finest hospitals in the United States.
When I was still working, I knew I wasn’t doing my best unless I was also having fun, and it pleases me to see my daughter bringing the same trait to her own workplace. Though her job as a neurology nurse is difficult and sometimes risky, Leah clearly enjoys her work and loves her co-workers.
I couldn’t ask for a better daughter, and I’m pretty sure if there’s ever a biscuit on her patient’s tray, Leah could not only spell it correctly now, she might even help him butter it, too.