Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer memories, grandparents

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Watching Anna Cate create her childhood memories in the summer with my dear parents is nothing short of magical!   This is the 5th summer she has spent extended time with Nana and Daddy Doug, and they go "all out" to make the trip an affair to remember.  Each year I reflect on previous summers the trip was made:

The summer of 2006, we took our baby for the first time away and took everything but the kitchen sink in July. I returned in August with my friends, Melanie and Chelsea Edwards, whose family live in Franklin. AC and I rode in the back seat of their car and had a blast to get an extra week with Nana and Daddy Doug. 
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The summer of 2007, Anna Cate stayed with them for a total of 17 days as I attended a Southern Living @ Home convention, came back to Fredericksburg, Va to move houses, and then went with BJ to Mexico, alone. Nana then flew her back home and they saw our house together for the first time!
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The summer of 2008, Anna Cate and I spent a few days there and she stayed alone while I attended another Southern Living convention in Nashville. 

The summer of 2009, Anna Cate and I flew down for 3 weeks so I could rest since pregnancy was the bus that hit me hard.  Then, she fished, went to baseball games, caught lightening bugs, swam, cooked with Nana, watered flowers, and basked in that glory of grandparently love. We have a lot of memories from last summer and I have several pictures (when I got off the couch to actually take some).
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Here is Anna Cate with Betty on the celebration of her 60th birthday. Betty died this past April, so we missed the love, fun and laughter Betty provided us.  She adored Anna Cate, played with her and lavished her with kisses and fun.  It was sad to not share a cocktail, a laugh or a delicious product from Betty's kitchen as we missed her spirit immensely. I know Anna Cate will remember her fondly, as will I.
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SUMMER 2010.....


This year I was a little more of a "presence" on the jaunt but oftentimes, I felt like a bystander as my children and parents were making memories together. 


To say Daddy Doug and Anna Cate are buddies is an understatement. Because Mom and I are night-owls, he put her to bed every night with singing made up songs, reading stories and "cuddle time" as they drifted to dreamland. When I would go get her to get in bed, she would sleepily say, "thank you Daddy Doug...I love you."
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On one Saturday night, I went with the 2 of them to the "Drive In" to see Toy Story 3. Anna Cate was fascinated by the sound coming from the car and the movie on the screen.  We at junk food  and wondered where the best seat would be; I remembered coming there as a child and Daddy told us of it being the "it" place when he was a teenager.


 Once during the film, she thought it best to sit in the car with the windows down, and she said, "Hey Daddy Doug, do you want to hold hands?"  or "I love you guys"...moments to remember.
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Nana and Anna Cate are best of friends, as Anna Cate is allowed to play with Nana's 345 purses, 234 shoes and 118 set of jewels. Bedtimes are quite flexible, getting dressed is optional, and the goal of each day is to make Anna Cate feel happy. Not exactly a recipe for successful child-rearing, but a great foundation for a grandmother-grandaughter bond.


Molly was calmed on the front porch swing, and Anna Cate was entertained by entertaining us.
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One day, Anna Cate and I walked to the library to read books, and she thought my style was quite boring and took over.
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We enjoyed celebrating the wedding of Rachel McGinley (the Bateses best friends) in the McGinley back yard. Notice how Anna Cate's hair always looks better when Nana fixes it, and the home-made bow to match thanks to Molly Bates.
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For the second year, Rita, Daddy's long time secretary, hosted us to let Anna Cate and her grand-daugther Abby ride horses together and feed catfish in a pond.  Afterwards, we enjoyed sweets and cold iced tea making a perfect summer's evening for us, and a long-lasting memory for Anna Cate.




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From bathtime to bedtime, Anna Cate experienced bliss, love, laughter and all the elements of treasured summer memories. 
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Sweet Molly enjoyed life, as well. When big sister was happily entertained, Molly got more attention, cooing and holding.

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On one of the last evenings, we went to Swan Creek, a beautiful stream that winds its way through breathtaking beautiful landscapes of my home county.  Her waters have provided much joy for my family, particularly Douglas and Daddy who fish there, so it was special that Kitty happened to be there for the evening, too. (her parents even became engaged somewhere on the creek banks)


IMG_2191.jpg picture by batesking04Daddy Doug stood in the water and let the current sweep Anna Cate to him; she, of course, thought this adventure was quite fun.
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The cold water refreshed and christened Molly and Kitty.
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 IMG_2193.jpg   IMG_2196.jpg picture by batesking04This look from Kitty says,"thank you, Nana. I was so hot!"


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Anna Cate informed us that she had to go potty; when we told her she needed to get back in the creek, she said, "You're kidding!!!!" Welcome to the country, kiddo!


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Time simultaneously flew by and stood still as I witnessed precious moments where my parents etch their love in my children's soul and memories nestle into our minds. 
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While time with grandparents and summer both make up only a portion of our days here on this earth, it seems that our memories of them take up a lot of space in the minds and hearts of children.  I enjoyed watching such precious images for posterity. I am thankful for both generations whose lives created these moments for our memory banks.  

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