Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Hope”

Hardball with the Boys

“Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. Within the baselines anything can happen. Tides can reverse; oceans can open. That’s why they say, “the game is never over until the last man is out.” Colors can change, lives can alter, anything is possible in this gentle, flawless, loving game.”
― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

Choke up on the bat, step into it and swing!

In our big house we had on the west side of the suburb we lived in, the new side, the boys played baseball in the street all summer long. The streets were new and made of cement, so I asked my dad and mom to get me a really thick pair of jeans, because I was going to play. They didn’t question me. I had played with the boys in our last neighborhood too, because I was very active and athletic — a tomboy as they called us in those days. So I informed the boys on the block that I was going to play baseball. “Shoot they said. “You gotta beat up every guy on this team to play with us.” They were pretty confident and laughed a little, because I was small and didn’t appear to have much meat on my bones. What they didn’t know was that I was determined, tough and wiry. So I fought each one of them, wrestled them to the ground and held them down until they said I could play. From then on we were teammates. We played every day of that hot summer in t-shirts and long jeans to protect at least our legs from the cement when sliding into home plate. I played first base because I had a good arm and I was fast — mentally and physically. One thing I wasn’t was a power hitter. I just couldn’t get a could crack at that hard little ball.

Bob Allison from the Minnesota Twins lived on our street and he had two really young boys. We idolized him, but never saw him. Once in a while we saw his pretty wife and their two young boys outside, but never him. Then one day, I was up for bat and pretty as you please he strolled over to the middle of the street, home plate. He asked me how my hitting was going and trying not to drop my jaw, I told him it wasn’t going very well. He said, well that bat is to big for you, you’ve got to choke up on it a bit. And then he showed me how! I was just about to scream I was so excited, but I did just exactly what he said.

Once he felt I had mastered that — by now our whole team was surrounding us at home plate — he had another tip for me. And for some more power, he said, you’ve got to step into it when you swing. He showed me how to take a step forward as I took a swing with my hands raised higher on the bat. Then he had a couple of balls pitched to me. Those guys weren’t going to do me any favors. We were teammates, not friends yet. The pitcher fired in a pitch, STRIKE! The catcher threw it back and he fired in another one. I took a deep breath and blew it out, to a step and swung… CRACK! Impact! That ball soared. Everyone around us jumped back and I ran like lightening. I wanted Mr. Bob Allison to see I was going to take advantage of his handiwork. First base whooosh…. second base whoooosh….third base…whoooosh…and I was on my way home! I slid into home SAFE! All but my jeans, shredded them, but man, the grin on my face! Mr. Bob Allison was looking over his shoulder and nodding from his driveway. It was time for him to go home.

What a great summer day. A legend appeared out of the shadows and taught me how to swing a bat. My teammates and I were suddenly friends. I had earned their respect. I’ll never forget it!

Saturdays at Dad’s

LtoR: Scott, Suzy, Pop, Dad, Sara, Me and Bill

“A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Every Saturday, many Sundays after Church, every Christmas Eve and Father’s day were my dad’s and nobody questioned it! My dad had many qualities that made him a great dad, he loved his children, he loved to be outside and play with us and was the best story-teller. I could listen to my dad’s stories by the hour. I still can!

He loved us so much, my mother told me later, that the night they realized that a separation was going to happen he cried about not living with us kids. It breaks my heart to think of it. My poor parents, both loved us so much. My dad in tears, I could hardly bear it when she told me.

But on to the fun stuff. We lived in Minnesota. My dad was from Mitchell, South Dakota. Two cold places. He never let that stop him from being outside, or from taking us on hikes as he called walking up and down whatever hill or mini-mountain we could find.

On a Dad Hike! Me Bill and Scott!


He played football for the University and taught all for of us to go out for passes. Suzy first, she was the fastest, then me, then Bill and then Scott. He had us running, catching the football, throwing a nice spiral back to him so he could fire one off to the next kid in line. It was a blast. We went as fast as we could. Suzy set a pretty fast pace. She’s the beautiful blond girl in the pigtails in the picture. The baby is my sister Sara. She’d watch at first. Eventually she joined us for basketball. I don’t remember her playing football.

Sara was a delight as was her mom. Pop is my dad’s dad, also known to tell a good story. My dad loved words and chose his well. I loved to hear my dad talk about anything, but most especially his childhood. His childhood friends had amazing names, like “Liver Lips” Johnson! My dad could really made us laugh as you might well imagine! He told the stories of how he and his brother fought that are the stuff of family legend. He has golf stories that would make you laugh ’til you cried. You’re probably wondering why I’m not telling you any, well my dad is an author, currently working on his memoirs! I don’t want to steal any of his thunder!

I will say this, my dad taught me to love words and books and writing and speaking. When I was in high school he had a regular column in the Minneapolis Athletic Club magazine the Gopher for local business. It was funny, witty and I read it every month. His book, “The Guide Shoots First” about his hunting adventures is selling well on Amazon.com

There was one thing I envied my brothers. Well two, I guess. 1) every year they went hunting with dad and 2) they went down to the Athletic Club every Saturday morning with dad to workout, play basketball, etc. Dad would pick us up after. It was a men’s club back then with just certain hours that they allowed women’s swimming, which we did! But I wasn’t to envious. One big drawback, they couldn’t be a daughter of dad’s which is a precious thing!

All sports at my dad’s house were strictly co-ed. Other places, it was another era. There weren’t many sports for women back then, and my gym teachers were amazed at my basketball prowess when they began to “teach” us the game. Too bad they didn’t teach football too! Dad would have loved that story!

Hem of His Garment

The Hem of His Garment

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the hem of his garment. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
23 When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up.
26 News of this spread through all that region.

I was sitting in Church on beautiful sunny spring Sunday and our minister, started preaching from Matthew. My ears really perked up because he was talking about a man whose daughter had died and he believed if Jesus came and touched her she would live again. Pretty extraordinary stuff and definitely a part of the bible I hadn’t read lately.

This man’s faith caught my attention. I was really struggling. I was in my Junior Year of High School, not my best year. I had developed a frightening case of acne that had scared more than one date away. I was not close to my dad and didn’t know how to fix it. I think I was scaring my mom a little bit. I know she was praying for me a lot.

Then my ears perked up again, suddenly a woman appeared on the scene. She was really sick. She believe if she touched the hem of Jesus garment she would be healed. Now I was really listening! Then the still small voice within me started to speak. Now this is an expression from the bible Christians use instead of sounding crazy and saying God started talking to me. But in fact, deep in my heart, God started talking to me. I kept hearing the words, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” I knew who He meant, Jesus wasn’t there in the flesh, he meant our beloved minister. He wanted me to touch his robe and be healed.

I was fighting this one hard. No way do we have altar calls in the Congregational Church and certainly not in the suburbs! Yet, I couldn’t shake the unmistakable, over-powering tug on my heart and soul. Healed from what? I was thinking all the while: acne, broken heart about my dad, rebellion, lousy attitude. You name it, I needed healing mind, soul and body badly. But really, walk up the aisle of the church and touch the minister’s robe?

I was getting really warm inside. Every time the dear minister said “If I only touch His cloak I will be healed” and “Your faith has healed you” — which seemed to be a refrain in his sermon — it was like someone putting a light charge of electricity through me.

Finally I got up. I walked up the very long aisle to the front of the church and touched our minister’s robe just as he was reading the words, “Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you.” And then he smiled at me and looked and the congregation. He said, our little one here has come seeking healing…he looked at me and I nodded. That was all I could do. Then he turned to the congregation and said something like…if any more of you would like prayer please come up and join us here. And people came forward! And he prayed for all of us. Many hearts were touched. It was the very first alter call ever in that church, but certainly not the last.

Did I get healed? In every way. It was the beginning of a work of restoration of faith in my Lord. I know my desire to be closer to Him and to my Dad was in the works. What about my skin? That wasn’t instant, but there was a healing that took place. The dermatologist had spoken with me about treatments to fix scarring and pitting down the line. Due to the healing started that day, none of that was ever necessary. It was like I was given brand new skin!

I do have an interested post script to this story. Years later, I was working in the marketing department of a Life Insurance company in downtown Minneapolis. I was on a company weekend at their home office in Wisconsin and was up late one night talking to one of the women executives. She and I had really hit it off and she knew I was a person of faith. She said she was once a Congregationalist, but she got really turned off to church one Sunday. I asked her what happened. She said a young girl got up at the end of the sermon and walked up and touched the minister’s robe. It turned her off completely.

I was able to tell her that that young person was me and I gave the story to her from my perspective a bit. It was so amazing. That wonderful woman opened her heart back up to God that night. She thought that if He would go to all the trouble of finding that girl and put her back in her path all these years later, He must care about her a lot. And of course, I agreed!

“Minister” On A Motorcycle

“Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.”
― Mother Teresa

When I was in High School. I was a lot to handle. I was rebelling against everything. It was the late sixties and the world was in turmoil. My Junior Year my mom was spending a great deal of her spare time in women’s bible studies and I know all the women were praying for me. I was like a young wild horse with the bit in my teeth, going fast as I could in the woods, paying no attention to the low hanging branches. I loved God. I prayed, but I wasn’t following Him like I had been, I was going too fast to follow anyone. Except my tight group of girlfriends and they were a bit too wild.

I was not promiscuous however. I didn’t believe in it. I didn’t care that it was the time for free love. I was raised to be a virgin when I married and I was holding to it. I didn’t care what the boys in my class thought about the idea one bit. But I was troubled. I wasn’t close to my dad for the first time in my life. I’m not sure why. We were having trouble communicating, I supposed like many fathers and teenage daughters of that day.

One beautiful spring day a young man drove his motorcycle into our suburb. He was going door-to-door raising money for a “mission” trip he was taking to save the souls of the Native Americans in Arizona. No matter how ludicrous that sounds today, this was at the height of the Jesus Movement and people were buying what he was selling…I’m not trying to demean people of pure intent in their desire to spread the gospel, but I had reason to believe later that this guy was not on the up and up. But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

I was an idealist. And wanted to change the world. If Native Americans would be better off as this man said, I was for it. And I would help if I could. Many of the people in my suburb felt the same way and contributed to this cause, including Colonial Church, the one I had found coming home from Junior High.

How did I meet this “minister” on a motorcycle. Well, amazingly my mother’s bible study introduced us. They thought he would be a good influence on me. Now I hesitate to write about this because I think good Christian people are often made to look foolish today and I don’t want to contribute to it. These were well meaning people trying to help me, who grasped at the nearest straw. Also, this man was a supreme manipulator.

So, I started traveling with him after school on his motorcycle. I didn’t ask God if I should, I just did. I assumed I was in His will without asking. My mom was okay with it because so many people she respected were. This went on throughout the summer. As you might imagine happened, this young man said he fell for me. He wanted to marry me and take me with me to Arizona to help him in his ministry. I was very taken with the whole situation, drawn in and captivated. I was all for the idea. Fortunately for me, I was too young to get married without parental consent. Whew!

I went out of town with my girlfriend for the weekend and had a fun time. I slowed down enough for my guardian angel to catch up with me like Mother Teresa says. I came to my senses and realized this guy was a nut, trying to marry me! He probably just wanted me! BFI “Blinding flash of insight” as my best friend Lynn would say! So I came back into town to break up with him.

I told him so and he talked me into coming to his house because he had something to tell me…I said I would and he picked me up and brought me to his place in town. He lived with his parents still. I never thought I would not be safe. We were talking in his garage and he said that while I was gone God told him that we should have a ceremony of our own. That we would be married in the eyes of God. And I could live with him. I knew something was terribly wrong and told him I had to go home. I asked him, adamantly to take me there.

Instead he raped me. I was heartbroken. Stunned and confused. No one had ever talked about date rape back then so it took me a while to figure out that I had, in fact, been raped. I lived in guilt and shame for quite some time. I couldn’t tell anyone. I didn’t know what to say. I just lived with it. I couldn’t believe I would not be a virgin when I married. I couldn’t believe something I was protecting and fighting to keep was gone and so soon.

I cried out to God. I couldn’t hear His response. Finally I ran away. I ran to a Young Life camp I had gone to with my church where a friend was working for the summer. I thought they were someone I could tell. They weren’t. They were horrified and ashamed for me. But my father found me there. My dearest friend. He took me back to his house and I stayed there with his dear wife and my little sister Sara.

He and my step mom paid me the supreme compliment of asking me to live with them. I did for two weeks and then I knew it was time to go home. I never told another soul until I was older, and it was a friend who loved and brought healing to my heart. My dad was my rescuer, but I was my mom’s so home I went. God healed my heart. And in time healed and restored all that had been taken from me. Was I a virgin when I married? Yes, absolutely! God makes all things new!

Mom Plus God

The Five of Us

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.”
― Lisa Wingate

My mom tells the story that when dad and she decided to get divorced and she was alone in the house with us that she laid down on the floor and stretched out her arms and legs and gave up. She told God she couldn’t do this thing: raise the four of us without dad in the house and without his daily presence and love. She told God she needed Him to give her the strength as soon as possible, PLEASE! She just laid there until he answered her. From that day forward she always said God was her husband. She was NOT a nun, she was real flesh and blood. She got frustrated with the four of us who could be very unruly without dad to yell out our given names! But, she had a lot of love and determination and incredible energy. I’m not surprised looking back to think that it was not really mom raising us at home, but mom plus God.

Now I want to stress again that my dad took care of us, too! He was there for us emotionally and financially and on weekends and holidays. But on the weekdays and every night it was mom + God who raised us. She needed help from others too and got it when she would. She was very beautiful and dated some. I love this picture of us taken at Minnehaha Creek by my all-time favorite of her boyfriends, a doctor and a really great guy. She didn’t have very many of them, but they were all sweet to us. Some wanted to marry her. She never took them up on it, and finally stopped dating. She maintained she was married to God. That might sound a bit goofy to some, but my mom was not goofy, she was full of love. I think, however that she never really got over my dad. She is 81 now, with Alzheimers, and her face still lights up like a Christmas tree when she hears his name!

And my grandparents, were always around. I had two sets. I was very fortunate in that department. My moms parents we saw the most, because they lived near by. They were an important part of our lives. And my cousins too, of course. Yet, sometimes we were lonely. My mom started this ritual of putting is all to bed individually and lying down with us and talking to us for a good long time. My mom took a couple of hours to put four kids to bed. I mentioned she had energy. She was very happy raising us. She would get up the next day to begin the adventure again!

She depended on me for help with my brothers. My sister Suzy helped more around the house. We all helped mom when we could. I was her rescuer. One early summer day I rode home on my bike and saw her holding the window air conditioner out the window! I ran upstairs to see what the deal was and found she had it stuck outside the window, not in the brackets and could get it in or out! She was holding onto the thing for dear life. She wasn’t about to drop an air conditioner! I got on my bike and pedaled to the nearest gas station (about a mile) and the guy who knew us came and helped mom out! Wow! What a day. I get tense just thinking about it! Okay now I’m laughing. Life with mom was never dull!

Mom raised us on the praise method. She had been raised that way by her dad with a bit more of a critical style by her mom and saw no value in it. Even today, my husband Mike calls her the president of my fan club! She is the first person I call when something great has happened. Well it’s a coin toss! The second person I call is my Dad! They are two great people who built a wonderful happy family, together and apart. One of their secrets: they loved their children. A second? They never had a bad word to say about each other! I had the two best parents in the world, plus God!

When God Found Me

I was always really curious about God. I remember driving my Sunday school teachers down at Hennepin Avenue Church crazy with questions. How can we talk to God? How does He talk to us? How do we know He will answer our prayers. How can we get into Heaven?

It bothered me a lot that they didn’t have answers for most of my questions. I had asked my grandmother Meme, a Methodist — and all I got was — try your best and be a good girl and hope you get in. The vagueness of the reply troubled me greatly. Also I didn’t think I was a particularly good little girl. I teased my little brothers, sometimes my sister and didn’t help my mom enough! When I got older, 7th grade I remember getting mad and saying bad things in my head at the minister’s sermons because he sounded so vague and irritatingly non-committal about everything. When I thought about my questions and my thoughts later, I was sure a girl who was mean to a minister — even in her head — was not headed for anyplace too good at all! This continued on until I turned 13 and was in the 8th grade in Jr. High.

Now let me preface this by saying that I believe I had a big old hole in my heart. I believe I was missing God and I also know I was missing my dad. Now my parents had separated four years earlier and divorced when I was 10. I saw my dad every weekend and intellectually I comprehended the thing and was even behind it. I did not believe my parents belonged together. My dad was also much happier with my step mom, who I really liked and who really liked me and all the kids. My sister Sara, their only child hadn’t come along yet. But despite all this, I was a daddy’s girl. One who had followed my dad around every minute of my life until the day he left and I just plain missed him fiercely. After he moved out he treated us more and more like a grandfather than a dad I thought. He wanted all our time together to be special I imagine, so he spoiled us a bit and didn’t discipline us much…well we were probably on our best behavior too…at least that was my child’s impression. So I missed my dad. The one who used to YELL, Elizabeth Diane Baker if I was in trouble! The firm hand of guidance, and the safety I felt in that.

I didn’t know what to do with my new-found freedom, so a big part of me was looking for God. Probably the best idea I could have had. That all brings me back to the year I was 13 and in the 8th grade. I was walking home from school one day. I probably missed the bus because it was a two mile walk and I didn’t usually make my way on foot. I was passing by a church and noticed some pretty cool looking kids hanging out, playing in the side yard. I went over and talked to them, liked their banter and decided I’d go there the next Sunday when they asked. As the oldest child in the family I had certain privileges, as well as the safety of our neighborhood and those long ago times. When I told my mom I was walking to a new church on Sunday she let me go! My family drove down to Hennepin Avenue and I walked on a sunny spring day to Colonial Church of Edina and sat myself down in one of the pews.

Well, what did you know but my quest had ended? God had found me! On that sunny side street among friendly, playing children He had set the stage for me to walk right into a place that didn’t intellectualize tired old dogma, but told the story of the New Testament and the love of God in His son Jesus. I was home!

So that’s why I say God found me. Sure I was looking. But I think He set a pretty attractive trap and caught Himself a Libby and changed the course of her whole life! What do you think? Oh, by the way, my mom and my sister and brothers followed me to that church. It was great driving with the family again. We all felt we were home.

Growing Up Close!

I like this quote because it reminds me so much of holidays and Sunday dinners with my brothers and sisters, my cousins, auntie and uncle, mom and dad, Grandpa and Meme — as we called my maternal grandmother:

“I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

We had such fun together, such incredible fun. We all talked at once when we first got together as if we hadn’t seen each other in ages. Things never quieted down from there, but we did organize. We each had matching cousins. Somehow my mom and her sister had managed to have their children at about the same time. We each had a cousins in our same grade in school. Linda and I came the closest, the first-borns, being only one week apart in age! Now that had to be a little miracle! I think then everyone liked it and tried to keep it up from that time on. 🙂 My sister Suzy had Marnie, my brother Bill broke with tradition and had little Muffy for his twin cousin and my brother Scott had David. Then my parents separated and broke the streak — and my cousins kept coming with a delightful bonus: Danny!

Here is a recent picture of my beloved childhood playmate and lifelong friend…my cousin Linda and I at my brother Bill’s wedding this summer:

Linda and I

When I said we got organized at our family gatherings I meant we broke into groups and put together plays and entertainment for the grownups as we always called them! How this got started I’m not sure, but it was in our blood. My grandparents were both wonderful at acting, Meme in school and Grandpa was the best Scrooge ever in The Christmas Carol at Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church for many years! We performed for their delight, praise, laughter and applause. And our parents’ too of course. Whose did we covet the most? My grandfather’s. He had the biggest, deepest, most wonderful laugh in the world. What a fabulous time we all had and the love was thick in the air! Of the nine of us, I acted in High School and College and my brother Scott went on to act professionally!

The bonus for me was that years later — when I was hospitalized for bi-polar disorder — that hit me at 9 months post-partum with my second child, Davey I had a this wonderful hugging bunch of people in my corner. Meme came to visit me nearly every day and brought me my favorite: red licorice. My grandfather was too sensitive. I cannot imagine he would have been able to see me in there, but perhaps he did. His heart was so tender that he wept when he said grace for our brood on Sundays and every holiday I remember. He loved us so much. So did Meme, but I think she was made of sterner stuff.

I’m so happy they lived long enough to see me happily married to Mike. We were a happy foursome for two years before my grandfather passed at the age of 83. He loved Mike. And why not? They are a lot alike! Tender-hearted family men who laugh and cry at the triumphs of their family!

My grandfather had many wonderful sayings. He loved to scramble words up and say things backwards like, “You’re feeling well, how are you looking?” And we would howl with laughter! His best one ever was after we had spent a glorious wonder-filled, laughter-busting-out-all-over hugs and love fest day together at he and Meme’s house he’d say goodbye with a big smile and tears in his eyes: “Come again when you can’t stay so long!” Hahaha Love you Grandpa! Next time I see you we will be seeing each other forever! 🙂 Love, Lib

Made For Each Other

Mike and I -- A Dream Come True

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
― Dr. Seuss

I have thought hard over the past years about why I survived all the loss that I had in my twenties. The obvious answer of course is God and His Supernatural love and power in my life. The second was my will to live and continue on and be a part of my own little family again, and then there’s the old, I came from hearty stock argument. I do not dismiss any of these and rather think it was a strong combination of the three factors that pulled me back from sorrow, and depression, kept me from self-pity and bitterness — and helped me rebuild my life on a the rocky foundation of a condition that reared its ugly head 9 months post-partum with my son: bi-polar disorder. That was the hardest battle. When it hit, it hit very hard. I was very sick and it took the best minds and hearts in the psychiatric community in the Twin Cities to put together the plan that saved me. And it took an enormous force of will on my part. Pure fight and will to live and build and have a new life. Get my job back, get a family again, be a whole person again and I really didn’t know or care in what order. The quote above was like an echo for me. I was stripped bare in every way. Lost my nuclear family: my husband and my boy, my job was on hold, my mind was in turmoil and not my friend as it had always been. I was just raw Libby. So I was honest about everything. I put up no fronts, sugar coated nothing. No more cockiness of my youth, my smart mouth had been replaced with bare bones honesty…what you saw was what you got. My best girlfriend and I were remembering this time today together at lunch. She said she felt inadequate to know what to do for me. I said, “You were great! You were there for me. You visited me in the hospital. The cage. How much better does it get?” We laughed together. The first guy she met in the hospital told her he was Jesus Christ. She told me. I said yeah, he told me the same thing too, his name is Michael.” We laughed again. Boy if you can laugh about your life, not just later, but during the nightmarish times, you have been given the greatest gift of all. Which brings me to my other theory: I come from hearty stock. My paternal grandmother was the strongest woman I ever met. And she could find something funny in any situation. She was a survivor. My dad, now that I’m older says I remind him more and more of her and honestly I couldn’t be more complimented!

I don’t have a picture of her, but I’ve got one of dad and I which is almost the same thing, the three of is look alike!

Dad and I


Well my dad saw me making a new life for myself. I had a new job at a different company. I didn’t like the old place when I tried to go back to it. And I was doing some writing at this job. I was happy and fit, jogging, that sort of thing. He said, “Would you like to meet someone?” I said, like a guy? He said yes. and I said sure. So two weeks later he picked me up at work and drove me to his place and introduced me to the man I was made for: Mike Sweiger. Needless to say we hit it off and were married approximately 4-1/2 months later, all the while planning a beautiful wedding. How did things progress so fast? I don’t really know. We were best friends from the start. Fell in love and were engaged within weeks and started to plan the wedding. Mike even asked my Dad to lunch to ask for my hand! In all solemnity, my dear dad said yes, but promise me one thing Mike, make her wait at least 3 years before she gets pregnant again, her body and mind need the rest. And I did! And he was right. Both Dad and Mike. I was married to a dear man, one I could trust to look out for the very best for me. One with a heart who loved God and loved me and loved and would always protect and keep strong our little family. It was the happiest end to a really tough story and all I can say is we were made for each other.

A Mother’s Ring

Davey and I Laughing!

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
― Carl Sandburg

Davey was not my first baby, he was my second. I think about this story often in the fall. My first baby was a girl named Shirley Deborah. Though sometimes people talk about little Davey who lived nearly a year and was a joy to all who knew him, no one ever mentions little Shirley and she is all but forgotten, except to me. She was a lovely dark-haired baby girl like her sister Abby who was born healthy and strong 7 years later. Little Shirley appeared healthy, but was a preemie, only 7 month gestation and she died, unfortunately while I was in labor in October of my 23rd year. They were preparing for a preemie and I’ll never forget when the inconsiderate doctor yelled out when she was born: No need to get ready for a preemie! But the nurses who tended me were angels. Their names: Shirley and Deborah. They told me just what she looked like and encouraged me to hold her and bond with her and mourn her passing. I couldn’t do it. I was so young. I felt she was torn out of me like the infected placenta that had cut off her blood supply and killed her. I didn’t want to bond. I was afraid my heart would break. Now I wish I had. All the memory I have of her is of a tiny casket on a hillside, that is until now and the mother’s ring, but I’m skipping ahead.

The very foolish small town doctor that delivered her so insensitively said we could get pregnant right away again and we did. This time we went full term. Davey was born. At 6 pounds 7 ounces he was no giant, but he looked healthy and we rejoiced. Our joy was short-lived because the next day the pediatrician said he must be moved to Children’s Hospital downtown because he had a bad heart murmur. We stayed in a hotel near the hospital and I stood with him every day and barely cared for myself, hoping and praying him back to health. At two weeks he went into heart failure, we called my now ex-husband from school (seminary) and kept vigil. I tried and prayed so hard to put him in God’s hands during his angiogram. He did not die, he started to improve! We had him for 11 glorious months. He was a precious gift! But our little angel was not made for this world, he had a very complicated heart problem and what we didn’t know….didn’t have a spleen. His first cold killed him. No one’s fault. No one could have known. Our precious Davey was gone. And so it would seem was my ex. Still wounded from the loss of Shirley, he couldn’t bear to look at me, so I was without my little family. But not alone. My own family rallied around. My faith in my Lord gave me strength…eventually I began to live again. And now I have two stones for my ring.

A year after my divorce I met and later married the dearest man on the planet. Three years into the marriage, we got pregnant with my darling Abby girl.

Me, Abby and Mike

She was and is healthy and strong and a treasure for her dad and I. Abigail in Hebrew means her Father’s joy or Initiator, Life Giver of Joy! And she truly is!

Last night I ordered a mother’s ring at my husband’s encouragement. In it are the names and birthstones of your children. No longer will Shirley be my secret and Davey rarely talked about for everyday. I will wear on my right ring finger a gold band with the names: Shirley, Davey and Abby on it and each of their birthstones. Now this mother’s heart won’t be kept in darkness, but live free in the light of day!

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