Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Niece Drew: Girl, you’ll be a woman soon…

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This is Drew, today.   My question is:  when did she become so...hip?

I'll never forget the night before she was born.  It was "Thanksgiving Eve", 19**.  I went home early for the holidays, and was surprised to find no food cooking.  "Your crazy sister is planning to cook the whole thing" Mom said.  "But Mom--isn't Donda like 3 months overdue with that baby?"

"I told you she was crazy!"

In comes Donda, falling over her belly and carrying an assortment of food, pots and pans.   Mom said "That girl is ready to lose it, you'd better stay outta her way."   And from there, the evening became something of a sitcom.  Donda  is laughing at everything I say, and then complaining I'm giving her a bellyache.  Mom's eyes bulged.  "Omigod he isn't that funny, you're having contractions--Shawn, get her in the car!”  Donda’s water had broke. 

So Mom, Donda & Shawn take off for the hospital--and there's Dad & me,  standing there looking at each other.  I said "What do we do now?"  He said "Well, one of us had better get some sleep so go to bed, I'll stay up & wait for the call.  Probably a false alarm."  I go to the bathroom, think of something, come back into the livingroom.  "Hey Dad—"  He's snoring soundly on the couch.

And early Thanksgiving morning, Drew was born.

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Donda holding newborn Drew 

It was actually something of a comedy before Drew was born.  Donda & Bobby were married in 1986--REALLY young, as Donda was only 17.  But Bob had a well-paying career working on river barges (he's now a captain).  And (much to Mom's relief) Donda had no plans on having a baby anytime soon. 

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My favorite picture of Drew as a baby...look at that smile!

 

In fact, for years it became a "Holiday Tradition", where Mom would ask Bobby if he got what he wanted for Christmas--he'd reply "Well..." Donda would roll her eyes.  "He wants a baby!"  So when she finally consented, he was thrilled.  And when we found out Donda was having a girl, we all did a double-take.   (Donda was not your typical girl, growing up.  She never played with dolls, or other traditional girl toys.  Mom, who loved that stuff, would heap toy dishes and such on her--all in vain.  And with Bobby being as male as a male can get--hunting, cars, sports--did I say hunting?  We didn't envision their future daughter in frilly dresses, exactly.)

We'd all be proven wrong--what Mom called "one of God's ironies".

You couldn't have asked for a kid to be more of a girl than Drew was.  She loved the whole traditional setup (dolls, dresses, dishes) right from the start.  And Donda (to her credit) never had a problem with it, and turned out to be a great mom in the process.

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Donda & Drew at Nana & Paps  

I remember only one time where I heard Donda speak up about it.  In the summer of 1997, they were living in South Carolina & Shawn and I went to stay with them for a week.  I got the honor of sleeping in Drew's "princess bed" (while Drew slept with her mom). 

On the first morning there, I woke up to the sound of clatter.  I rolled over & Drew was standing at her play-kitchen sink.  "I'm sorry Uncle Doug, but I gotta get these dishes washed."  

Later that morning downstairs, as I told Shawn & Donda about it, Donda said "Drew, tell Uncle Doug what you want to be when you grow up."  Drew said "a mama".  Donda said "Honey you can be ANYTHING you want--a teacher, or even a rock star!"  Drew said "I want to be a mama."   Donda looked at us & just shook her head.

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Me and Drew, on her birthday

From the start, Drew was always the dictionary definition of "a good girl".  Our parents (before they both passed away) loved her dearly, and Mom insisted that she could've "pooped her out" herself, she felt they were that alike.   And as Drew got older, her interests expanded in a variety of fun directions--she loved books, biology, and science; I remember when she excitedly got her own 'spy kit', complete with magnifying glass.  And she's always done excellently in school, a friend to everyone, and loved by all her teachers.   (I wish I had my act that together at her age!)

While I wish she didn't have to grow up quite so fast, it's so nice to see what a fine young woman she's turning out to be.  Recently a younger friend of mine saw her picture & expressed interest in dating her--until I told him she was only 13! 

Here’s a video I made showing what I’ve seen so far; I’m sure the best is yet to come.  Smile  

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