Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Nocturnal Visits Begin

Thursday evening, while eating supper, Maya mentioned to Mandy that there was something wrong with her mouth. Mandy started to question her to see what she meant and via that process, we learned the big news of that day -Maya had a loose tooth!

Yep! Already -at just a little over age five, she had a tooth on the bottom, in the front, that was "wigglely" -as Maya put it.

Just doesn't seem possible that she is already into this next phase of childhood -loosing those baby teeth.

We really didn't think that much about this loose tooth thing -other than to worrying about how we would deal with Maya when it came down to actually "pulling" it, ya know. But even that aspect turned out to be no big deal and also, another surprise for us later that evening.

I was sitting here, doing my embroidery thing (as I have been steadily doing for the past several months now) and Maya was standing by the playpen, not really seeming to be doing anything, other than standing there. All of a sudden she says "Look, Gram" and held her hand out to me. I had her come closer to see what she was trying to show me and to my surprise, she had the tooth in her hand!

She had apparently been doing the normal thing -playing with the tooth, wiggling it back and forth and it just popped out then. I don't know who was more surprised -Mandy, me or Maya. She didn't fuss at all. There was no bleeding either, which we had worried might cause her to "wig out" on us.

Nope, she was very nonchalant about the whole deal.

Mandy got an envelope and told her she had to put the tooth in the envelope and then put it under her pillow when she went to bed that night and in the morning, she'd have to look and see if the tooth fairy had come to visit her and how much money that good, generous fairy might have left behind.

She went to bed that night, got up yesterday morning and apparently had forgotten all about the tooth and the tooth fairy's coming to gather it up.

This morning, we remembered to ask her about this and she went upstairs, checked under the pillow and there, in place of the envelope with the tooth in it, was a nice crisp $1.00 bill! She was really excited about the money although she obviously has no idea of how much one can purchase with a dollar. When asked what she planned to spend the money for, her response was "A chocolate shake at Lowe's." Apparently she shops at a different Lowe's store than the rest of us cause I've never seen chocolate shakes available there.

Plans for today -and tomorrow too -are really going to have me a bit busy. Tomorrow evening is the "Festival of Light" Pageant and pot luck dinner at our church. The program is the crowning of St. Lucia this year for our parish.

This is a tradition from Sweden and as I think I've mentioned many times before, the founders of our church here were Swedish immigrants back in the mid-to-late 1880's. My great-grandfather on my Mom's father's side of my family was one of those founders of the original church that was begun in what is now the ghost town of Peale -the little place about 2 miles down the road from my home.

St. Lucia -the patron saint of Sweden -is celebrated today -December 13th -in Sweden and in our church, we observe honoring her on the Sunday in December that falls closest to December 13th -which this year, will be tomorrow, December 14th.

The original St. Lucia was actually from Italy but missionaries to Sweden several centuries ago, told the story to the Swedish people about this woman and her work with people, bringing food to early Christians who were hiding in the catacombs and in order to see where to go in those dark places, she wore a crown of candles on her head to light the way. Now, Sweden -being a land near to the North Pole and where the winters are very, very dark (and also cold) -had a pagan celebration about this time of the year as it is when the days begin to get a little longer --shedding a little bit more light, you see. So that, combined with admiring how St. Lucia was such a generous person to bring food to those early Christians and that she did it with this wreath-crown of candles, bringing with her light, the Swedish people then began the tradition of paying homage to St. Lucia on December 13th.

The tradition is that early in the morning of December 13th, the oldest daughter in the household rises, bakes some sweet breads -called Lucia buns or Lucia cats -makes coffee and then, wearing a white dress or long robe and a crown with several lit candles on her head, awakens her family to serve them hot coffee and these sweet St. Lucia buns.

In our church, we gather on the Sunday chosen to celebrate St. Lucia, for a great pot luck dinner, followed by the teens as well as many of the smaller children too, reading the story of St. Lucia. Then, the oldest teenage girl in the church leads a procession into the social room while wearing a white robe and with this crown of lit candles on her head. She then serves the St. Lucia buns to everyone present. It really is a beautiful program and one that holds a lot of meaning to the parish -especially to those of us with roots going back to Sweden.

This year, my best friend Kate will see her granddaughter, Katie, as St. Lucia and another girl, who is slightly younger than Katie, will also serve as St. Lucia. Both girls this year are named Kathryn -but friend Kate's granddaughter goes by Katie, whereas the other girl goes by Kathryn. Anyway, Katie will wear the white robe and candle wreath/crown and Kathryn will wear a traditional Swedish dress that had originally belonged to a cousin of my Mom's -who my kids always called "Aunt Helen."

This is one celebration in our church that I look forward to very much each year. Both my daughters served as St. Lucia when they were in high school and though at the time, they weren't all that happy and excited about this "honor" today, they both recognize it for the story behind St. Lucia, for the tradition of observing St. Lucia Day and the meaning that is actually behind the story -bringing the light of Christ to the world.

So today, I'm gonna be cooking a big casserole of ham and bean pot pie -a dish very similar to ham and bean soup except that you make homemade dumpling-like noodles and put them in the broth to cook up the juices from the ham and beans. My kids love this and it has always gone over very well with those who attend this dinner too. In addition, this year I am planning to also bake an egg custard dish that is a traditional Swedish item -called "Panakaka." There is another lady in our church who almost always brings this dish to our pot luck dinners but she has been having a lot of health problems this year -mainly with arthritis in her spine -so she isn't always up to the task of making the baked custard. And, I thought since I love panakaka as do my kids, (and many others at our church too) I will make a pan of it to take to the dinner tomorrow.

Then, tomorrow I will also have to make a pan of baked beans and bake a cake to take to church Monday morning for use at a funeral dinner which will be held Monday morning. One of the elderly members of our parish passed away yesterday morning -he was 91 years old and had been in failing health for some time now.

Trust me when I tell you this though, after that pot luck dinner tomorrow night -with all the great foods that will grace the table there -one thing I will need to counteract against all the goodies there as well as the cookies, candies and extra foods that will be a big part of the upcoming holiday, I'm really going to need to find the best diet pills if I want to be able to get into the clothes I currently have!

I wanted to post a photo of Maya showing that gap in her mouth today with this post but unfortunately, getting her to stand still, open her mouth and look at the camera is proving to be a rather difficult task today. Guess I'm just going to have to bide my time -do a sneak attack so to speak -with the camera in order to get the shot I want to show you.

Happy St. Lucia Day to all! Celebrate the coming of The Light!


Dianne said...

I hope we get to see a gap toothed smile photo soon lol

Happy St. Lucia

Travis said...

That's a cute story. I remember always being nervous when I first felt that loose tooth. But most of them popped out with no fuss, quite to my surprise.

I only got a quarter back then, and that was ok by me.

david mcmahon said...

That's really early to lose a tooth.

Geri said...

I always loved it when the tooth fairy showed up and made me richer!

terri said...

It's impressive that Maya handled the tooth so nonchalantly. I hope she finds a good chocolate shake!

fermicat said...

Losing teeth used to freak me out. I was such a wuss about it. And it appears that inflation has hit the tooth fairy just like the rest of us. I think I got a quarter for my teeth.

Sandi McBride said...

That's what I love about your Blog Jeni, its the pass it on and put it out there and let us know that it's still alright to follow tradition! Merry Christmas, my friend...hugs to the kids!