Happy 65 months big girl! As I type this, you are snuggled up on the couch with cousins Stella and Jane at Nana and Granddaddy’s house, watching The Polar Express – a great holiday movie with great buddies at the end of what has been a great month full of cousins.
We kicked things off at Thanksgiving when Jones, Eli and the fam came to Boo’s house. You and Jones were inseparable, enjoying walks to the playground, wheelbarrow rides and lots of monkeying around in trees.
One afternoon, we loaded up all you kids to go ride a tractor with family friends Tim and Pam. Not far outside of town, we turned down a dirt road flanked on either side by cotton fields, and I immediately felt like I was seeing an old friend. The bolls were bursting with the soft white cotton and dust from the red clay road swirled in the late afternoon sunlight. I was not expecting the nostalgia, or the pangs of grief I felt for my Grandmother and Poppo. Or the surge of thankfulness as I remembered the great times we spent on their farm. The dirt roads. The wide open spaces. The freedom to play. I was suddenly so happy to be on a farm with you, to give you just a taste of that life.
The tractor was a big hit, and you sat at the wheel with Tim’s careful guidance and drove around the farm. You had foot races with Jones, and then convinced Boo to race too.
You explored the cotton fields, picking bits of soft tuft to poke in your pocket, but only after asking each stalk, “Could you spare a little?” (I don’t know where you come up with these things!). My heart felt very full.
Then it was back on the road to spend the rest of our week-long Thanksgiving break in Tennessee. For some time you’ve been asking us to take you ice skating, and there is a rink not too far from Nana and Granddaddy’s house. Your only other experience with ice skates had been “skating” on a hard plastic, synthetic ice sheet in the middle of Broughton Street as part of Savannah’s Holly Days festival. That had worked well for me, because I could keep on my tennis shoes and basically pull you around the plastic on your skates.
But this time, the ice was real so that meant I had to lace up too. I’ve only skated on ice one other time, and what I remember most was falling. A lot. So I was a little nervous about being responsible for not only staying on my own feet, but helping you stay on yours as well.
You were ecstatic as we put on our skates and you eagerly approached the wall surrounding the ice to have a good look around. The zamboni was out smoothing the ice so we had to be patient.
As you surveyed the area, with wide eyes and a huge smile, you announced, “Mama, this is a dream come true!”
And I tried to stop and absorb the moment, knowing there would come a day when it would take more than a $9 skate rental and an hour of my time to make your dreams come true. I reveled in how happy you are at this age. How happy I am to be your mama.
Once on the ice, I think you were surprised how hard it was to stay vertical. There was a lot of this.
And a bit of this.
But some of this too.
In all, no one was injured and you seemed to have a good time. You’re already asking when we can go skating again.
Once back home, the holiday season celebrations ramped up with school parties, parties with friends, parties at church, and – one of our favorites – the neighborhood Christmas party. Santa arr
ives in one of our neighborhood parks, and it’s wonderful to have the great one-on-one time with St. Nick without enduring the lines at the mall.
After sharing your wish list with Santa, we boarded a trolley for a ride around the neighborhood and a Christmas Carol Sing-Along. You and Lola, without any advance planning, both showed up sporting Rudolph accessories and had a grand time together.
Your school Christmas break began Friday, and we were back on the road to Tennessee where Stella and Jane were waiting after traveling all the way from Oklahoma. I couldn’t believe how well you and Stella played and how much you enjoyed each others’ company. Three days and zero fights. And lots of fun.
Today our whirlwind tour will continue with a much-anticipated visit with Mr. Glen at his mountain home in Big Canoe. The mutual adoration between you and Mr. Glen is always a joy to witness, and I know we’ll have fun playing on the hiking trails and looking for wildlife in the beautiful setting.
We seem to pack an awful lot into our days, don’t we? But we sure do have fun.
I love you so much sweet bear.