How Can She Be 24

It hardly seems possible that 24 years have passed since I heard multiple voices saying the words 8:03 and after calling time of birth, they formally introduced my daughter with the words, “It’s a girl! ” Not having had an ultrasound I knew intuitively I was a carrying a girl in the first few weeks of my pregnancy and their confirmation made me smile.

With so much geographic space separating us, I tend to look for ways to feel connected. One thing that helps is keeping the clock on my computer set to the same time my daughter sees in America. It’s silly, but it makes me feel a bit closer to her in a way and makes the distance between feel us smaller than the ocean between our two countries. A few hours ago I watched as her local time rolled over to 8:03 making her well and truly, 24.

I hate not being there to celebrate with her. We saw each other for an iChat this morning and I did a little singing, but I wish I could give her a big hug. This makes the fourth year I’ve had to write about missing Miranda and it doesn’t get any easier. I have three previously written birthday posts complete with photos which can be found here and here. They’re kind of mushy so be prepared.



Getting To Know You

When John and Miranda met in Virginia at the university she was still attending a little over two years ago, they really only had a few hours to get to know each other and while it was pleasant, they were still virtually strangers when he and I married a year later in February of 2009.

Over the last two years they have interacted a bit during some of my online iChat conversations with Miranda, but most of what they know about each other has been filtered through me as I have talked or written about them.

You never really know how people will get on and it’s a big leapt to think that just because they’re my favorite people to spend time with that they might enjoy each others company as well. I am pleased to say that any concerns I might have had have melted away as I have watched them laughing and chatting about different topics on their own.

We’re off again in a few hours on our whirlwind tour of Cornwall. You would not believe the photographs we are all getting. John is shooting more video than anything else, but Miranda and I have our cameras in hand and it’s been fun at night to reflect on the day and remember some of the conversations that have come from our shared experiences.

Eden waits for us today along with Lanhydrock and maybe we’ll even have a chance to give a couple of babies a squeeze at the end of the day … if we have any energy left.

All Aboard

My sister Margaret saw pictures of my completed new studio space this morning and said something while we were iChatting that made perfect sense when I took a second look. She said my new space made her think of the Orient-Express. It was a combination of the wall lights, the interior windows facing the corridor leading into the larger space, and the vibrant colors. Additionally, she thought that the curve of the coving (crown moulding) gave it a bit of a train cabin interior especially around the bookshelves and daybed. I did a little internet search and although my studio is not quite as swish as a cabin found in an Agatha Christie novel, I can see what she means now. What do you think?

This photograph will give you a clear picture of how the door looks.

The orange curtains make everything glow a lovely warm shade in the morning before I open them for the day.

I love this shot of the entry taken from the other side of the glass door.

The picture that welcomes me when I come into my space is one of my daughter Miranda. It was taken when she was about 18 months old while sitting in my grandmother’s old wicker chair.

I know I am being a terrible tease here, but I will be back tomorrow with more of the big reveal.

22 Years Ago – A Baby Girl

Twenty-two years ago, I was in the hospital having just given birth to my only child. I didn’t know it at the time, but this precious gift would steal my heart like no one else ever could. If you’ve followed my blog for any length time, you’ve seen snippets of Miranda scattered throughout my posts. I’ve tried to protect her privacy as much as any proud mother can. If I had my way Gifts Of The Journey might end up looking like a mommy blog as I could write post after post about smothering, I mean mothering Miranda over the years.

It is difficult for me to remember sometimes that she is grown now. Miranda is the same age I was when I was finishing my tour of duty with the Army and some days I have to remind myself that while 22 doesn’t seem all that old to a mother’s heart, she really has grown into a lovely quite capable young woman. With each conversation we have lately, I am able to see that she is doing just fine without a lot of input from me these days. That makes it easier to step back and enjoy her in a whole new way.

While I will not be with her physically this year, I will be ichatting with her in a few hours so seeing her on camera while we speak will have to do for now. When she was a baby, I used to kiss her all over her sweet face telling people I was stocking up for the days to come when she’d be too big for my exuberant displays of affection. While I’m sure I could still embarrass her with the delight I feel when close enough to smother her with the kisses she’s too old for now, today I’d settle for a big birthday hug and wish I was close enough to deliver it.  Happy Birthday baby girl!


Below is the post I wrote last year for her 21 birthday…I wanted to share it again today as she turns 22.

M snowflake kiss


In a few days, my precious daughter will be twenty-one.

That’s twenty-one years since I heard a chorus of voices in the delivery room saying in unison, “ 8:03.”  Exhausted by a labor that had gone on for over two days, I remember thinking for about half second, “okay, so it’s 8:03” before realizing that the medical team were all marking time of birth.

So there it was, a Monday morning in September when my world changed forever at 8:03.

Married only three months and pregnant at twenty-six, I worried about how ill prepared I felt in my ability to parent anyone.  Even though I had joined the Army at eighteen and done more adventurous things by twenty-one than some people do their whole lives, I worried incessantly about the most basic of things…being a mother. That changed quickly as I held her that first night after everyone had gone home and we were completely alone for the first time.  I whispered my fears to her as I told her who I was and where I’d been. I told her I’d do my very best, but I was bound to make mistakes so some things we might need to learn together.

As you can imagine it was a very one sided conversation.  I talked, she stretched and yawned and then she slept…doing all the things a newborn does naturally.  Holding this tiny person in my arms, I made a promise to love and protect her and to stay open to the things she might teach me too along the way.  Life lessons come from unexpected places and the gifts that come from opening yourself to loving someone else deeply despite your fears can create a ripple effect that has the potential to positively touch the lives of more people than we realize.

Letting go, I learned what it’s like to love another without reservation, sweet unconditional love… no matter what.  My daughter, born four days after my twenty-seventh birthday has been the best gift of my life.  A blessing from the beginning, I learned how to love others by loving her first.  I expect she may take a look at this post, but it won’t be the first time she’s heard me say this. I’ve been telling her whole life that she has been the best blessing of mine.

Happy Birthday, baby girl – make a bold wish with those birthday candles and blow!

So Far Away


Not So Far Away

Elizabeth, John, & Nik - Not So Far Away

 ” But you’re so far away
Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door ”

– Carole King

Making a decision to move away from the familiar is not so easy for most people. To move so far away that it requires an extended plane ride or maybe even several to reconnect with those we care about is becoming more common and a little less painful thanks to the many ways that exist for family and friends to stay connected. Yesterday, John and I paid a little visit to Alaska all the way from England for my nephew Nik’s birthday party. Thanks to the internet, iChat, and my sisters willingness to shift her desktop Mac around, John and I were able to “be present” for the family gathering. 

It was great fun to watch Nik open his presents, blow out his candles and sing a rousing round of Happy Birthday to him with his older brother Sam accompanying us on electric guitar. Sam would have made Jimi Hendrix proud as he opened the party with a raucous version of the Happy Birthday tune.  

The world’s a different place than when I turned eleven in 1971 and Carole King was singing, ” So Far Away “.  Far away isn’t quite so far now and although we couldn’t taste the yummy looking (no trans fats included) cake my sister Margaret made, we could gather together for a photograph with the birthday boy… bringing ourselves virtually into the living room though still not quite a face at the door.