Christy Brady Smith. Naturally, I remember the day you were born as well! You were my second daughter born alive. The first one born in Jamaica. It was an interesting and casual experience…not necessarily for me of course, but labors and deliveries were managed much more like a natural part of life than in the U.S. at the time.
BORN IN JAMAICA
Daddy looked around the delivery room with its unscreened wooden jalousie windows and there sitting on one of the slats was a huge grasshopper. It was jarring for him. (I was preoccupied at the time!) You were placed in a “crib” that looked like it had been there for many generations. Instead of looking like a regular crib, the sides were chain links and it was painted white. Otherwise, it was just like any other delivery.
We went home a few days later after Daddy brought my mom and sister (10ish by then) from the airport. When they brought Dawn, your older sister (20 months old), she looked so big and grown up. We lived in a house on the campus at Jamaica Bible College. You became part of a small community of American missionaries and students from many of the Caribbean islands. It became a very pleasant place for you to live most of your first four years of life.
But I’m wasting my words as you fly through your 30’s. (Haven’t they gone fast?)
You were my daughter that brought a lot of sparkle. Along with the sparkle came drama, danger, excitement, laughter and tears. When you were around, life was never dull. EVER. I remember when we took you to college and the three of us came home from IL. Holly missed you terribly…and so did we. For the first time in her life, she didn’t have you around. The house was quiet and lonely.
You were the daughter that most often challenged me in most areas: rules, values, budget limits. You name it. Interestingly, I didn’t always feel that it was a rebellious challenge. Sometimes it was intense questioning and probing. I had to learn where to stand my ground and where to relax and give leeway. We didn’t always make the calls correctly, but God was gracious and protected you.
Raising you taught me more about how to draw reasonable boundaries and respect people, including family. I knew I needed to train you and it wasn’t going to do any good if in our conversations, all we did was fight and argue. (That was a natural propensity of mine, sadly. But since I was the adult, I needed to be the one to change in some ways…like being reasonable?)
RAISING YOU CHANGED ME IN THE PROCESS
Sometimes your dad would ask me if I realized how I sounded. I didn’t of course. I didn’t always appreciate the timing of his questions, but I did appreciate the help he was able to give me in learning to react less, ask questions more, and be careful not to label you. I had to think a lot to come up with creative ways to ask questions and point out weaknesses without labels. This was definitely not a strength of mine.
One of the times I did it right was when I caught you in a lie. You were very good at it. You have a very creative imagination and were able to dream up amazing stories. It was easy for you to lie in certain settings. I didn’t want to label you as a liar because it would put a label in your head that might not be helpful to you and give fuel to the Enemy who loves to accuse.
I did want to let you know I realized that I was being fed a lot of false information. I told you that at the rate you were going, you were going to end up being a fiction writer someday. (For those of you concerned that we didn’t deal with sin or didn’t call sin what it was, you are reading too much into this exchange. That just wasn’t the case!)
CREATIVE GIVER OF GIFTS
I also remember the Christmas that you told us someone had dropped off a bunch of presents for us. When we opened them on Christmas, they were all presents from you. Was that the same year you also changed all the tags on Christmas day because you had purposely tagged them wrong so no one would guess their present?
There were a number of other events and tales that I will not tell here…so you can relax. As daughter #2, you definitely sparkled up our family and the mix of the three of you was delightful…most of the time.
I was going to list all the things you have done that are different from your sisters but actually, no two of you have done the same things so that comparison won’t work. You each have grown to be people who feel comfortable in your own skin. Comfortable with the gifts He has given you and glad to share them as needed.
Now you are grown, married, and living in the great northwest with three daughters of your own! Your life is unimaginably busy with your “baby” now almost out of toddlerhood and potty trained. You have been active in your church, the girls’ s schools, and keeping your home managed as well.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF HER EDUCATION
It’s true that your career is on hold for now, but the practical side that you are getting to your Developmental Psych. degree only adds texture to your abilities in that field. Someday again, you’ll have the chance, if you want, to go back into being a professor or writing. For now, you are getting real life experience in developmental psychology with three active little girls.
They are so fortunate to have a mom that cares for those who suffer, is generous with her time and resources, loves them, and has helped create a lovely home (with her husband) where they can be nurtured.
The thing I miss most is being able to see you more. You are an interesting person, just like all my daughters, and I would love to be able to visit you more often in person. I hope this is a wonderful birthday for you Christy. May you have a blessed year! I love you.
Again, what a lovely tribute! I’ve been thinking of your use of “sparkle” and think I shall adapt it for my own sparkling daughter. Thanks for sharing, Martha!
i enjoyed our discussion last nite. i had a difficult time using it because i didn’t want to pan my other daughters. there is nothing boring about either of them either. i just think sparkle reflects c. best. i have great and positive names for my other daughters too:)