Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Are My Sunshine

Still practicing senior picture shots with K. She cooperated for all of five minutes. 

These three are the best of the fifty I snapped. And I had to snap fast. Her attention span was that of a gnat. 

I have lots of pictures of her bent over, cranky faced, giggly uncontrollably. Anything but smiling nicely for the camera. Or not smiling at all. 

I'd even take that.
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God's handwriting - a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
She is such a beauty to me. I know I'm a little biased since I'm her mother. But, really? I think she's absolutely beautiful.

Her heart. 

That makes her beautiful inside and out.

I used to sing a song, "You Are My Sunshine", to my children when they were small. We would sit in a rocking chair in my bedroom and I would rock them and croon to them and kiss them and cuddle them and most days, it was this song I would sing. 

Unbeknownst to me at that time, this was also the song my dear father-in-law would sing to my mother-in-law. I remember one family gathering when Dad sat Mom in a chair in the middle of the living room, got down on one knee, and sang this to her in front of their children and grandchildren.

It was a wonderful thing to behold. Mom all flustered, Dad smiling and singing and getting a little bit choked up. All of us children and grandchildren smiling at the scene unfolding before us.

It was very humbling. To see a man so much in love with his wife.
Fast forward about ten years, and a few more sing-alongs along the way, and Dad is now living with Alzheimer's. We moved in with them to help take care of Dad and keep him home as long as we could. We kept him with us almost to the end. 

But the time came when Mom had to decide to find long term care for him. He wasn't able to move anymore, and he really didn't know anyone, except Mom, on good days. He had lost his words, except for a few utterances every now and then. He couldn't eat because he had forgotten how to swallow. 

It was time to get help.
His last night in the house he built was kind of busy. Mom and I went shopping to get him some things he would need: pajamas, slippers, a robe, some t-shirts. We weren't out long. We both wanted to get Mom home quickly so she could spend as much time with Dad as she could.

When we got in the house, we found the Man and J in the living room, watching some television. K was in the bedroom with Dad, talking to him.
When Mom and I walked into the room, K stood up and exchanged a look with Dad. He was looking at K, smiling a little bit. K took a breath.

And she started to sing.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you,
Please don't take my sunshine away.

Dad sang as many words as he could. His voice came out strong when he knew the word but it was weak when he didn't.

But then he would look at K, and she would carry the words for him.

He kept looking at K, seeking her guidance, and my heart broke. Since he couldn't sing the whole song, she became his voice.

She kept her eyes locked on his, both of them singing this love song to Mom, and smiling the whole time.

We couldn't keep it together. Tears flowed down our faces as Mom and I and the Man and J listened to this duet. The love between Mom and Dad and between Dad and K was palpable.

It's a night I'll never forget and a memory that I hold in my heart. God blessed us that night with a love so full that I still weep when I think about it.

So while I may be biased about her beauty, I am not biased about her heart.

She's got a great one.


Today's photos are courtesy of Mom's gardens. So many colors, so many flowers. Ah, spring has arrived.


  1. What a lovely story. And, oh - the violets!

  2. Oh my. So many beautiful thoughts. So many beautiful photos intertwined between. Tears dripping onto my chin as I read this lovely post. I also love that wonderful Sunshine Song. How awesome is it that you have that memory of your Dad and Mom and K of her grandparents?

  3. Such a poignant story, and a truly beautiful song. Tears are flowing!

  4. Your daughter is so beautiful inside and out because you are her mother! You are such a gifted beautiful woman and I am so glad you are my friend!!!!