Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen"

"You've turned into the prettiest girl I've every seen. What happened to that funny face? If I should smile with sweet surprise, it's just that you've grown up before my very eyes. Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen." (Neil Sedaka & Lenny Gomulka)
Sixteen years ago, on my 51st birthday, I received a 'best ever' birthday surprise - a granddaughter!
Deise loved Winnie the Pooh so much that her nickname in the family was 'Pooh Bear'. It made buying birthday and Christmas presents very easy.
("If ever there is a tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember: You are braver than you believe; stronger than you seem; and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you." - Winnie the Pooh)
Two months before she was born, I had experienced a life-long dream of going to Ireland - home of my great-great grandparents on the Lynam side. When I got back to Iowa, the expecting parents asked for ideas for Irish names. There were the usuals - Colleen, Bridget, Deirdre - but there were also the less known - Sinead, Fiona, Maeve. For boy's names I think I suggested Sean, Liam, and Ross. None seemed quite right for the little one when she was born - their second girl.
While I was driving around Ireland, I saw that names were in both Irish and English. Somewhere in the Lismore area of County Waterford I saw the name 'Deise'. At the time I did not realize it was the Irish name for the area - derived from the name of a tribe of native Gaelic people who had settled there, I just thought it was a pretty name. Preston and Shalea both liked it.

Which is how we got our sweet little Deise Mei. (Love this picture of my Mom [Great-grandma Ruth] holding a 'straight from the bath' Deise.) The problem for this little girl has always been for how teachers, doctor's office employees, and everyone else seeing her name written, pronounce it. Deise also could not understand why she could never find those little souvenir items embossed with her name.

I took this picture of Deise at Country Homestead B&B near Turin, IA as we set out on a hike of the beautiful Loess Hills of Western Iowa. I really don't know if having the same birthday has anything to do with us both liking the same activities or not, but it has seemed that way.
"My little tomboy now wears satin and lace. I can't believe my eyes, you're now a teenage dream. Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen."
(Deise Mei is pronounced Day-sha May.)

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