Page 28 - HEF Pen & Ink 2023
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Eliana Joy Frederickson
By Selah Frederickson
Ellie and I shared a room for much of her life. At first, it was her white wooden crib and my cheap steel bed. Briefly, while
we were moving, we had our own rooms, but then it was back to sharing less than three months later. As soon as she was big enough to climb up to the bottom bunk herself, we got bunk beds. And when I moved to the guest room, she climbed up to the top bunk and slept there.
One day, she asked if I would cuddle with her while we fell asleep. She was young, maybe four, and she began breathing evenly in sleep long before I stopped staring at the wooden planks above us. I turned to look at her in the dim starlight from the window, taking in her long, light brown hair, her eyelashes curled up against her soft cheeks, her little nose cov- ered in freckles. I could feel my eyes filling with water and something warm blossoming inside my ribs, like a sunrise over the flat northern Montana landscape, gray clouds scattered over the orange face of our central star, its majesty almost too much for me. Gently, I wrapped my arm around her little sleeping form and drifted away.
That experience confused me for weeks afterward. I wondered what it was I was feeling, looking at my sister like I had never seen her before. Was it the love of a sister? A parent? I was eight when she was born, so it was possible that I had unconsciously accepted the role as parent for her.
It was her name that finally convinced me: it was joy. I loved her so deeply that I could smile just from the thought of her, laugh just from a picture of one of her silly faces, cry just from the knowledge that I was going to leave her someday. Eliana Joy gave me joy.
My favorite color is you
You’re vibrating out my frequency “Sober Up”, AJR
Eliana (Ellie) Joy Frederickson was born on July 30th, 2014, at 10:39 am. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 18.5 inches tall. Her father, ever the documenter, took hundreds of pictures that day to remember every moment of the day his last child was born. Her mother smiled, happiness radiating from her startlingly blue eyes in every picture.
Mom says that her first three kids cried when they were born, but as soon as she held them close, they recognized her voice and calmed down. Ellie cried, and even when Mom spoke to her and laid her child’s head against her chest, she kept crying. We like to say she was preparing for a life of having to speak up to be heard.
“Ellie, a question: how many snails do you have?” “I don’t have any.”
“What? You don’t have any snails?”
“Well, how am I supposed to see a snail?” “We can look outside when it rains.”
“Will you look with me?”
Every couple of years, someone would get the bright idea to do a sermon series about the Fruits of the Spirit at our church. It was especially popular in the kid’s services because it made snacks and crafts easy to come up with. There are plenty of Fruits of the Spirit coloring pages out there, free for the taking and printing for the hundred and fifty kids who showed up that Sunday.
To my surprise, we had a Fruits of the Spirit series in my Youth Group once. We spent a week talking about love (God is love, you know), and then we moved on to joy.
The youth pastor told us about the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness, he said, came from the small delights of life: ice cream and video games and that sort of thing. Joy, on the other hand, was something deeper, some-

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