Posted by: susanideus | November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Johanna!

Making the decision to have a child—it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.  (Elizabeth Stone)

Today is my younger daughter’s birthday–and I received the best gift of all–thirty years of Johanna LaNell Ideus blessing my life! What a genuine pleasure and privilege to watch her grow and mature into the lovely young woman she is today.

Johanna was such a sunny funny little girl. When she learned to laugh, we–her dad and sister and I–would just stand there and listen with glee to that baby belly laugh that was absolutely contagious. And she laughed a lot! Of course, she didn’t talk. I despaired that she ever would. She had a big sister that understood every sound, every uttering that came out of her mouth. Becca was able to get her whatever she “asked” for, so I guess she didn’t feel the need to actually talk. Of course, there also came a day when we thought she’d never stop talking–hehehehehehe!

Johanna came into our lives as an absolutely delightful total surprise, several years after I’d been told by doctors that there would be no more babies. Her big sister was delighted–at least at first. She was never really jealous, but she did get downright irritated sometimes. Like the time Jo came down with chicken pox at about eighteen months, a very light case with maybe 2 or 3 spots, but she gifted big sis with a whopper of a case–head to toe, even in her little ears. That was probably the first time Becca vocalized her despair at having a little sister. Then there was the pest factor. When you’re turning into a teen and have a 5-year old sister that follows you everywhere, well, enough said, right? Both being strong-minded young girls, there were arguments and discussions and fights and arguments…but let an outsider try to impugn one or the other, and they were a solid unit, standing against the world. Deep down, I knew they’d be OK, but believe me when I say there were many days in those middle years when I wondered if they’d ever really be friends. But friends they are–best friends! They are inseparable, even when they are miles apart. I love seeing them together and hearing them together, and I love sharing in their fun. They take me to a lighter side of life and keep me young! Theirs is a beautiful relationship.

Johanna is a good friend. It’s one of the qualities I admire so much in her. She’s loving and caring and generous, she sees the best in people–and inspires the same in others. I’m so proud of all she’s attempted and accomplished in her life, and I know that she will continue to achieve and grow. It’s a privilege to be a part of her life.
Whether we’re cooking together, shopping, driving across Texas on an all-night road trip, discussing a new book, or just relaxing together watching a chick flick, she brings me great joy. I have only to close my eyes and see that giggling happy baby–thanks for the memories Jo!


Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother.  A child is a child.  They get bigger, older, but grown?  What’s that suppose to mean?  In my heart it don’t mean a thing.  ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987




  1. What a sweet tribute. Happy Birthday Johanna, and many more.

  2. Another individual, special daughter, Susan, what a pleasure! Johanna sounds wonderful, and I shall have to pass on to my sister- the mother of two girls born close together- that your two grew up to be best friends. She will be hugely relieved.
    Lovely post, thank you:-)

    • She is indeed special, Kate–just as I’m sure your Maddie is! Thanks for the kind words.

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