• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Nena Elissa tried to arrive a bit early at the beginning of March.  After some medical interventions, a stay for me in the hospital and enforced bed rest she arrived on my maternal Grandfather's birthday, 17th April.

My mother watched her born into the world.  She said it was the first time she ever saw a human baby born. Nena  had 3 girl cousins in the Forsyth family born in the 6 weeks on either side of her birthday (and strangely enough 3 in the Ames family also - yes Shauna gets counted twice). Who will ever forget poor Tad  weeping on the step, quote, "One of them could have been a boy!"

Elissa was my longest baby at 22 inches.  She was beautiful with an exquisite complexion and the cutest nose any baby ever had.  Everyone exclaimed over her beauty - especially her siblings who thought she was the finest baby doll available.  Doctors told us she had a 'submucous cleft' but that as she grew it wouldn't really affect her (although she did need her teeth, which were not centred, aligned with braces).

At 3 weeks of age she had some seizures. As I gave her artificial respiration (while mom drove as fast as the truck could go to the hospital) I prayed for God to give her life and help me to be a good mother to her.  Despite many tests, doctors never were able to identify exactly what occurs. She was mostly healthy and always on the go - as in a chandelier swinger.

In Spanish neña (spoken neen-ya) means little girl. Papa was fluently bilingual and whenever he spoke to her in Spanish and called her a little girl she would answer him (but otherwise ignored him).

 She had personality to spare and made my other 3 children look like the angelic children everyone always told me they were. I began to learn many creative responses and interventions to childish adventures.  My mother helped me see each one in that light - an adventure for all of us to learn and grow from - especially to learn how to be gentle and loving. She had already taught me that 'there are no bad children, only unhappy ones.' Now I learned first hand how true that was. In this picture Nena is screaming in delight as she plays peek-a-boo with Tad's hat (that he likely snifed from Grandpa).

At age two the nursery had another Alyssa and it was easier to begin calling her Nena Elissa and then eventually just Nena. My mother loved the name Nina (spoken with a long 'i' sound).  She often called her Nena from the day she was born. After several years we no longer used the name Elissa at all.

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