When my grandson David was seven years old he had a revelation. “Mom, when you reach 100, that’s going to be a big party!” She is on her way and this day brings her one year closer.
January 19, the year Carina was born, was a very lonely day, maybe the loneliest day of my life! My husband and I were missionaries in the city of Huancayo in the Andes Mountains of Peru. In La Oroya, a mining town 75 miles away, there was an American hospital and they had the kindness of treating missionaries for free.
That is why I was there, awaiting the birth of our baby. The day before my husband had taken me there for a check-up and my doctor said I had better stay at the hospital because the baby might come the next day.
I’m sure Bengt would have wanted to stay with me but we had our daughter Eva-Marie that needed her daddy, so he had to leave me there. The plan was that he would come back in a few days. So, there I was, spending the day by myself, with no one to come visit and no telephone communication, because we had no phone. That evening my precious Carina made her arrival, a lovely and healthy bundle of joy.
How could I get word to my husband? The next day one of the nurses was kind enough to ask if there was something she could do for me. I gave her the number to my parent’s Christian Bookstore and she delivered the news!
What a joy for me when the next day my husband arrived and presented me with a gorgeous flower arrangement for my “bravery.”
I have to admit it was scary to be at that hospital all by myself –scary and lonely–, but so worth it! Too bad I don’t have a color picture, but here is the proud father with our baby Carina and the flower arrangement. She is all bundled up because it was cold, with no central heating system. Carina was born 12.000 feet above sea level!
When Carina turned five we lived in Chaclacayo, Peru and had a neighborhood party, with a piñata for the kids to enjoy. I have no photograph but a picture one of our friends drew. His name is Cesar and he is Cristina’s uncle. You know, Cristina that works as my assistant.
At the time Carina turned nine we were involved in ministry in a Bible Institute in Peru. My mother instituted the tradition of celebrating the student’s birthdays with a cake for them. For many of them it was the first time they had a birthday celebration. Carina celebrated with student Benjamin. One of the single mothers in church hearing about the celebration came up with the idea that her youngest daughter was born on the same date as Carina. That way Camila got in on the party. It was too obvious that the little girl’s mother made up the story!
When Carina turned twelve, we had just moved to Bolivia and had not yet got furniture. I still wanted to celebrate her birthday and invited her friends from the Swedish School for missionary kids. We had a Japanese party and sat on the floor!
In South America, the great birthday for a girl is when she turns 15, I would say it is the biggest birthday of your life! Carina celebrated her 15th B-day in Bolivia. A big treat was to get her picture taken in a studio! (It’s the first picture under the title.)
Then came our move to the United States and here our girl graduated from High School and slowly but surely started adapting to the American culture. We kept our Swedish tradition for birthday celebrations. My husband liked us to display our presents on the table, so that’s what we did. Here is Carina turning twenty.
When Carina turned twenty-five we lived in Colorado Springs and had to change our tradition a bit. She lived in her own apartment so we had to make our way over there and surprise her. Then we threw a surprise party and invited all the friends at church. Sadly, it interfered with some other activities so the turn-out was not that great.
A strawberry cake with heavy whipping creme has always been a treat for us on birthdays. Here is the one for Carina’s thirties birthday. From then on she has been somebody else’s “baby,” and she has baked her own cakes. But now her daughter Brianna loves to bake cakes. Maybe she will make one today!
On this busy last packing day I could not help myself but reminisce about my “baby” celebrating her birthday. How I wish I was there!
What a blessing that lonely day turned out to be! I wonder where the kind doctor that helped me deliver Carina might be. He sure was right when he suggested I just stay at the hospital to avoid the back and forth 75-mile drive.
Thank you, Carina for blessing me with the happiness of being your mother! Thank you for being my friend! I hope I will get to celebrate many birthdays with you in years to come!