(This is my aunty version, I’m sure there are mistakes in the memory)
Thirty years ago, my niece Kira surprised her parents by an early arrival. My brother Kendall and his wife Ginny were not expecting their first-born for a few weeks. (She is also “my” first-born, Kira being the oldest our family’s next generation. Niece Katina was born three months later). They were celebrating the end of 1984 and beginning of 1985 at a meditation retreat held at Fort Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island. This meant they were a ferry ride away from Whidbey Island where they live. When Ginny realized her baby was planning to arrive with the new year, they drove to Port Townsend to wait at a friend’s house for the first morning ferry. I was told later the first run of the new year from Port Townsend to Whidbey crossed in record time.
Ginny was planning a home birth at the house they were house sitting, a comfy cozy home where previous birthings had occurred. She was examined by a doctor in Coupeville before they headed south to Langely. Although they called me early and informed me of their plans, I had several inches of snow in the driveway and a holiday cold to contend with. I said I’d be on the next ferry, which I was. Ferry run number two did not have many cars on it, January 1 being a sleepy, and sleep-in, time in Port Townsend. As I carefully navigated the icy roads on south Whidbey, going as fast as I dare, this feeling came over me…….the baby had arrived. (Kira clearly was waiting for no one, though we’re all glad she waited for the first ferry!)
Though I felt disappointment at missing her arrival, I felt a peace and gladness knowing she was here. I walked into the birthing house and there, about a half-hour old, was “my” niece Kira, snuggled up to her mom. Attendants were moving about quietly in the early morning hours, there was a muffled joy in the air. I stayed several hours, but canceled plans to stay the night (though I recall a downstairs guest room in that house, maybe that was another story) because I didn’t want to be around babe and mom with my cold.
The rest, as they say, is history, rather ‘herstory’. Many more trips to Whidbey for annual Nutcracker ballet performances,( which Kira performed in each year of her growing up years), graduations, the first from Waldorf School, holiday celebrations, birthdays. One poignant trip I was going through some trauma in my life and Kendall invited me over to stay the weekend. I discovered tiny red-head sprites are the best therapy for anything adults consider serious! There were also trips in this direction…overnights at Aunt Penney’s, extended family picnics and events in the summer when cousins were visiting…….all fond but vivid memories that seem long ago.
Kira, also the first-born on south Whidbey that year, received many gifts from local merchants. I felt this was her earliest sign of being responsible for herself, frugal, and commonsensical, which she has been all her life. She balances all that practicality with whimsy, fantasy and creativity. Married this past summer to her sweetheart Carlos, with family plans of their own, she now shares her life experiences and knowledge as a special education teacher in L.A. where they live.
Below are photos from moments in Kira’s life I had the pleasure of sharing, and a few of her adventures elsewhere. Our ‘first born’ has been nothing but a joy and inspiration to know and watch grow, from that first day of the year, the first day of her life, thirty years ago.
Happy Birthday Kira!
(run cursor over photos to see captions, or click to see slide show)