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Laura Elizabeth Carpenter

Here are five females that have touched my life in a special way. From the top to the bottom, one called me Sonny, one calls me brother, one calls me hubs, one calls me daddy, and the one in the big picture calls me Ganga. That is granddaughter Laura Elizabeth Carpenter. Today is her fifth birthday. We are all celebrating the life of this unique little girl. Happy birthday LaLa.

Being a grandparent is a new joy. When John Lewis Carpenter was born nine years ago Harriet and I agreed with Solomon's assessment: Grandchildren are the crown of the aged (Proverbs 17:6, ESV). Neither one of us feels all that aged but it is true, having grandchildren is a distinct honor at this phase of life. John Lewis introduced us to these special blessings, and Laura is more. She is named after our daughter Elizabeth and Elizabeth's best childhood friend Laura Evanoff who died from cancer in 1987. How blessed to remember Laura Evanoff with this special namesake.

For the last five years we've all been observing her to identify which one of us she most closely resembles in personality, mannerisms, attitude, and general outlook. Is she more Scott's child, Liz's, mine, Harriet's, or Jody or John Carpenter's, her paternal grandparents? Of course, there are shades of us all. You know, the bloodline and genes. But, now, at her fifth birthday, I can say with little doubt that she's herself. This sweet person is charting a new course and I rejoice in it. What a special blessing. Already she's opinionated, emotional, strong willed, impatient, competitive, creative, and single-minded. But, she snuggles, has a winning smile, and captures my heart when she says, "Yes, ma'am" to me. Then again, out of the blue she'll give me a hug and say, "Ganga, I love you". Heart be still.

She and john Lewis call me Ganga, a memory from Harriet's childhood affection for her own grandfather. Harriet couldn't pronounce grandpa or granddad so she called him Ganga. We've adopted Ganga in his honor and memory. Harriet is Mimi. The name Ganga created a real laugh for us one day when Laura was much younger and learning to speak. We were at Wal-Mart and I was off on an errand away from Harriet, Liz, and the children. Way across the building I saw them and heard a little voice screaming across the aisles---Gay Guy, Gay Guy, Gay Guy. Everybody in the store wanted to see the Gay Guy this innocent little girl was calling with such energy. That would be me. Embarrassed? Maybe a little. But, honestly she could have been calling me Snake in the Grass and I would have proudly answered.

So, dozens of grandchild stories are scribbled in the margins of this life. There are too many to even mention. But, on this day, the day that celebrates her birth, Harriet and I want to wish Laura Elizabeth Carpenter a very happy birthday. Can't wait to see her and John Lewis (and Scott and Liz too, BTW) at her birthday party Saturday. And, also, to bear witness over the years as she develops and grows into the very special young lady God created her to be.

Now I'm longing to to hear her ask my favorite question: "Ganga, will you come to my room and play with me?" Melt my heart. WOW!

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