Family

 

TO PAUL COLEMAN SAIN
from
Hoggee

    When you came into the world weighing only one pound and seven ounces, we were so afraid for you. You were named Paul for your mother’s father, who watches you from heaven, and Coleman for your father’s grandfather, who lives near you in Arkansas. I have always known that the name Paul means “little,” but since your birth I have come to belive that it means “little warrior.” You fought hard and well. As I write this letter, you are eight months old, and, miraculously, you have no problems. At not quite twelve pounds, you are still small, but you will catch up. Your smiles, though, are big, and you sweetly share them with anyone who looks at you. Many, many people all over the country prayed for you, and many people love you. I hope you will always feel that love. Thank you, little warrior, for making me a grandmother and for making my heart sing.

    Nana

Grace & Elizabeth Myers

TO GRACE ANN MYERS
from
Assassin

    You were the most beautiful newborn I'd ever seen. Although your birth was a normal one, with the aid of instruments, you had none of the redness or misshapen features of most newborns. Your beautiful, sweet face reminded us of a rosebud, and your papa John accidentally called you "Rose" several times that first day. You are not the only Grace Myers in our family. Your aunt Grace, sister of your grandfather who is in heaven, came before you. I hope you will grow up with same gentle spirit of Grace Myers Scrivener. I also hope you will have the graceful, poised style of your mother and your grandmother Nelda. There are many strong women in the histories of your family, and I am confident that you will grow to be one of them. Welcome to the world, little rosebud. I thank God for the joy of having a granddaughter. We all love you and thrill to your adorable smiles.


    FOR MY DAUGHTER

    You are small
    So too is the breath that
    wraps the strongest word.

    Nine months you grew upside down
    like a potted onion in the the womb;
    we waited for you like
    the tune waits for the word.

    Child, when the geese dote upon
    some puddle of sky above the
    chilling lake, look on them as words.

    Your face to your mother's is as
    the leaf to the tree,
    her love to yours as
    the thought to the word.

    I was a beginning once as
    you are a beginning now.
    Every period leaves behind it
    a space for the coming word.

    -Ben Myers
     

FOR ELIZABETH JOY MYERS
from
Spy!

    You are a special treasure who came to us in May. How blessed we are to have a dimpled, blue-eyed baby girl come to be part of our family. At seven months you look mostly like your mother and her mother, and that will make you a beautiful lady. There is a special sweetness in your smile that I believe will always be there. How fortunate I feel to live only two blocks from you now so that I can see that smile often. You will grow up sweet, but you will grown up strong too. Welcome to our world, little treasure. It will be a better world because of you!

    Love,
    Nana

WELCOME: to my daughter

    You came into a year of rain,
    wet thing,
    tiny
    as a frog
    in the palm.

    laughing with the odd
    angles of this world:
    elbows, Pisa
    crooks in the cottonwood tree-
    all tucked in
    the off-center grin
    you take from my father

    and opening like sudden
    sunshine on one
    side of a pitched tin roof,
    spilling down on the dandelions
    below.

       -Ben Myers
     

TO WILLIAM CHARLES LANE JR.
from
Wart

    This book is for you, Baby Will. I was writing it when you were born. We were wonderfully happy that day, but happiness turned to fear when we learned your tiny heart had four serious defects. Doctors told us, too, that your chromosomes were probably not normal. During those first nights at home, I sometimes sat up with you because your mommy and daddy were so worried about you that they woke each time you made a tiny sound. You and I would stay in the rocking chair together, and I would take you to your mother when you needed to eat. Those night hours were hard because I worried for you and for my own baby, your mother. However, they were sweet hours too. As we rocked together, I could feel the prayers being said for you by people in many places, some of them on the other side of the world. Those prayers were answered. The test telling us about your genetics took two weeks, but when it came back, it said your chromosomes were perfectly normal.

    When you were two months old, we made a long journey so that you could have a special doctor for your surgeon. We will always be grateful for Dr. Knott-Craig because he was able to repair your precious heart. You are four months old as I write this. You have the most expressive eyes I have ever seen on a baby, and you are always ready to smile and laugh. From your Grandmother Barbara you inherit the blood of Bluejacket, war chief of the Shawnees, from your mother's great-grandfather the blood of a pioneer teacher, and from your grandfather, who is in heaven, you receive the gentle spirit of a poet. I know you will grow into a man who would have made all of those before you proud. Welcome to the world, darling Will. You are a gift from God to us all.

    Nana

TO SAMUEL BENJAMIN BLUEJACKET LANE
from
Time of the Witches 

    Sweet baby Sam, you are exactly one month old on the day I write this page. You are forty-five miles away from me, and it is hard for me to stay here and work instead of going to rock you. You have been given two middle names because your parents wanted to name you Benjamin after your mother's brother and Bluejacket after the maiden name of you father's mother.

    I don't know yet who you will look like, but I know you are lucky to have the mother, father, and big brother that you have. I know too that all of us are blessed to have you. I hope you will grown up to have your father's intelligence, his interest in learning new things, and his sense of loyalty. I also hope you will have your mother's tender heart and her quickness to love. You are my fifth grandchild, but here has been an exclusive place in heart saved just for you. Thank you for giving me one of your special first smiles. Welcome to our world, Sammy. We have all been waiting for you.

    Nana

Photos by Tiffany Gardner.

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