Monday, December 27, 2010

Baby B


My youngest daughter, Beni Marie (called Baby B by the sonographer and hospital nurses), is youngest by only 15 minutes or so.  Annie, her older twin, came first.  Typical of Annie, she couldn’t wait to be born—literally.  She almost slid out on the trip from the labor to the delivery room.  One of the nurses pushed her head back in!  Beni Marie, on the other hand, really seemed to prefer the warm womb environment and, being breach, had to be pulled forcibly into the world.

Beni was a beautiful baby then, and is a beautiful woman today.  She has my father’s eyes, though, and that freaked me out when she was a new–born.  I remember one night holding her before we went to bed, and she looked directly at me.  I saw my Dad in her then for the first time and it was spooky.  Those big, gorgeous brown eyes!!!

Beni had some kind of problem with her formula which gave her digestive pain.  She cried a lot after she ate.  Once that problem was settled, though, she turned into a sunny, engaged, and happy little girl.  I had a ball with Beni.  She was our consolation after difficult days in the hospital with Annie.  She was our entertainment as she mastered her life with her sisters.  She was our challenge once she learned that she had free will and that there was a great English word pronounced “NO!”

After I came out and her mother and I decided that I would move out of the house, Beni broke down and cried.  She didn’t want me to go.  That experience remains today one of the worst memories of my life.  I knew that we were close, but I didn’t realize how much I meant to her until that moment.

Beni, like most kids, had a difficult adolescence.  Her mother and I worried about her but, by the time she started “acting out,” we had had enough experience with her older sisters to know there wasn’t a whole lot we could do.  Her mother, especially, watched over her and made sure she knew that she had parents who loved her no matter what.  Aside from that, her mother and I just waited and bided our time.

The butterfly emerged from her cocoon in her late teens and early 20's.  She left home when her mother and I moved from Northern Virginia to West Virginia, initially sharing an apartment with Annie.  That arrangement lasted less than a year and then she moved in with a friend, with whom she lived until last year.

She was never afraid to work, and she has worked hard since her teen years.  She’s had many different kinds of jobs and she’s proved herself to be adaptable and a good employee.  For the past three or four years, she’s worked for a private firm that helps keep track of student loans.  She loves her work and has been rewarded by promotions and raises throughout her tenure.  She has almost enough credit–hours for her bachelor’s degree in earth science.

Beni in the last several years has blossomed.  Sarah and Matt got into running, and then into biking and swimming, and Beni at first watched them with interest.  Soon, though, she was running herself and now she is a bona fide athlete.  This Fall, she ran in a 50–meter event, having run several 26.2–mile marathons over the past several years.  Her goal is to run in a 100–mile event.  As crazy as I think such extreme athletics are, I am so proud of her for what she does, and I am in awe of her discipline.  She eats only good, natural foods.  She makes sure she gets enough sleep.  She balances her athletics with the rest of her life and is happy.

Beni is, lastly, a fabulous cook.  She makes the best breads, desserts (especially the chocolate desserts she loves), Italian pasta dishes, sauerbraten, soups, casseroles, and salads you can ever hope to eat.  Since becoming an athlete, however, she has turned to wholesome, low–fat fare.  It’s still excellent food, but I often miss the rich desserts and breads of yore.  At Christmas and on holidays throughout the year, she tosses her dietary regulations to the winds and prepares the rich, wonderful foods that I especially love.  She is the best cook I have ever known.

I admire her, I am in awe of her, and I love her.  She may have been reluctant to leave her mother’s tummy, but, once out here with the rest of us, she has taken our world by storm.

You go, girl!!!!!

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