Stomach Flu Thanksgiving Remembered

Most of my Thanksgiving Day memories are steaming with oven-roasted turkey or fresh yeast rolls. One year there were no turkeys, no relatives, no black olives, and no fruit punch. My husband and I had plans to go to Grandma's for the usual feast, but a busy nightlong vigil made for a quick change of plans.
     On the night before Thanksgiving Day, each of our children became ill with the stomach flu. My husband and I ran from bed to bed. We had the washing machine gong all night. Just when it appeared we had seen the worst of it and the children were starting to go back to sleep, it hit my husband and me. By morning the whole family looked like death warmed over.
     That Thanksgiving the children were too weak to play, wiggle or even fight. There were no visitors. Nobody wanted to catch what we had. There was no feast. No one could keep anything down even if anyone could get up and fix it.
     It was a quiet day. There was no TV blaring football in the corner of the room. The rocking chair creaked slowly next to the piano in the living room while my husband took turns rocking the children to sleep. As I sat on our worn sofa stroking a child's small head in my lap and cradling another in the bend of my arm, I did a lot of thinking - thinking about what I was grateful for.
     As I rubbed my child's sweaty forehead and looked into his eyes, it occurred to me that everything that really mattered was who I loved. The whole richness of my life was contained in the embryonic relationships that were growing, developing and changing within the walls of my own home.
     I realized that most of the problems our family faced came from being over committed. Our relationships suffered when we couldn't bring ourselves to say no to other people, to properly un-order our lives so there was enough time to take walks together, play board games on the kitchen table, tell jokes while we scrubbed the pots and pans, or watch the stars appear in the night sky. It really isn't quality time but lots of unscheduled quantity time that matters. We spend the most time with what we truly love.
     We didn't dress or eat or even talk much that day. My thoughts were slow and unhurried. I looked at my husband and my children as if I were seeing them for the first time. I noticed the unusual upward turn of my husbands' brow, the circular mixture of blue, green and brown in my daughter's eyes, the soft satin feel of my baby's cheeks.
     My family was all that seemed real that day. The rest of the world seemed out of focus. Everything that really mattered was rocking quietly next to the piano or snuggled deep in my arms. That evening, we all sat around the kitchen table and took turns telling each other what we were grateful for.
     Now my family has grown to include the spouses of my children and lots of grandchildren - yet the feeling is the same. My family is my world. They mean everything to me. 


Happy 8th Birthday Sophia

When You Have Lots of Brothers

by Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy 8th Birthday Sophie. I sure do love you sweetheart.

 There are too many boys in this place

I just found a knee in my face

If they don’t stop wrestling soon

I’ll lock myself in my room


There are too many boys in this place

They think everything is one big race

If they don’t stop running around soon

I think I’ll start howling at the moon


There are too many boys in this place

All my things disappear without a trace

If they don’t stop losing my stuff soon

I think I’ll turn into a loony loon


There are too many boys in this place

I’m quickly becoming a mental case

If they don’t stop punching me soon

I’ll turn into a girly goon

Sometimes when I watch them there

Running around in their bares

I wonder, “Is this my lot?”

Maybe being the only sister is not so hot.


For brothers are rowdy most the time.
 They like rocks, dirt and lots of slime
  When they’re bored, they give each other a poke
Soon the whole bathroom floor is soaked


There are days I must confess

When I just can’t stand any more of this mess

So I call Aunt Alisa and say,

“Can we have some girl time today?”


 Then we play with dolls and fix our hair

And she never runs around in her bare.

We sit on the couch and snuggle up

Until I feel like a soft little pup.


Then after a while, I miss them and so

It’s time to go back for another go

For brothers are bouncy balls of energy

But there’s no place I’d rather be


Than in a house full of rowdy boys

And lots of rooms full of messy toys

For my brothers are my very best friends

Who will stand by me to the bitter end.
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The Power of Love

Bradley’s Secret Power
Grandma Baadsgaard
Happy 11th birthday Bradley.
I love you with all my heart.

        “Grandma, did your teacher ever punish the whole class for something just a few kids did?” Bradley asked.

“Yes,” Grandma answered. “I guess some things never change. I used to hate that more than anything because no matter how hard I tried to be good, I’d still get in trouble. Now that I’m older I realize teachers do that because they’re scared. When people are scared they don’t make wise choices.”

“Scared?” Bradley asked.

“Yes. They’re scared that the rest of their students are going to start misbehaving too. They’re scared of losing control. Some people don’t know that the only real lasting power comes from love.”

Bradley smiled. As he and his grandmother sat next to each other on the front steps of her home, the marigolds, zinnias and petunias filled the air with the scent of a lazy autumn day.

“I like that,” Bradley said.  

            “Did you know that I have secret power?” Grandma asked.

            Bradley turned and looked at his grandma with a curious stare.

            “You?” Bradley asked.

            “I might look old on the outside, but inside I’m young and beautiful because I know where to find love that lasts forever,” Grandma said.

            “Where?” Bradley asked.

            “When I was your age I believed everything other people told me.”

            “What is wrong with that?” Bradley asked again.

            “Sometimes when we’re young, you don’t know that what other people are telling us is a lie. If someone said I was stupid, I believed them. If someone said they hated me, I thought I was not good enough. If a friend told me I was ugly, I thought they were right. If someone was mean to me, I thought something was wrong with me.”

“Sometimes I do that too,” Bradley said.

“Then one day I went to a quiet place in my yard and said a prayer,” Grandma continued.

            “Is that how you found your secret powers Grandma?”

“It was a summer day much like today. I still remember the smell of the flowers and the soft breeze on my face.”

Bradley looked around him at the trees and felt the wind on his face.

“I asked God if He loved me,” Grandma said. “That’s when I felt liquid sunshine flow all through my body. I’d never felt so warm and peaceful before. That’s when I knew I was good enough and that I was beautiful. God loved me just because I was me. God loves you just because you are you Bradley.”

“I want to feel that,” Bradley said.

“When you’re filled up with God’s love,” Grandma said, “nothing that anyone says or does can take away that peaceful feeling inside you. Then you don’t have to feel scared all the time. You relax and trust that God will love you forever.”

“I like that,” Bradley answered.

“When I was your age, I was scared that I’d never be good enough and that something bad was going to happen,” Grandma said. “But after that prayer I knew God was always with me and that everything would work out. Now every time I feel scared again, I pray.”

“I want to feel like that,” Bradley said.

“No one can take the love of God away from us Bradley.  Now, that is power – real power.

“I never thought about love as power,” Bradley said. “I love you Grandma. That makes us both super heroes to each other. ”

“You are my super hero, that is for sure,” Grandma said. I love you Bradley. I’ll love you forever.”
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Daniel is born!

My newest grandson Daniel Baadsgaard was born this week.
He weighed in at 7 pounds and 2 ounces and was 19 inches long.
I feel so much respect for the strong women who choose to bring children into the world.
Thank you Joseph and Martha for allowing me to witness this miracle.
Holding a newborn baby is about as close to heaven as we get.