Thursday, September 30, 2010

4 and a half

This sweet, crazy, witty, precious little soul is now 4 and 1/2.....
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She is learning to tie her own shoes...
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and wash her face with Mommy (on the nights I have the motivation to take care of my skin)...
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and practice her sass...
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So we went to her favorite joint to celebrate!!!
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Molly's treat was water from Daddy's straw.
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And maybe she said, "uhmmm waitress!"
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"My sissy needs a Sundae" 

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with a cherry on top...IMG_0314.jpgIMG_0317.jpgIMG_0318.jpg

Ahhhh...what a treat!  This is the good life, Anna Cate, and I'm so glad I'm sharing it with you.  You are more precious and delightful than I could have ever imagined.

Tonight Anna Cate walked in and was so proud to give the costumed Red Robin a high five, when a few months ago she would have been afraid.  I was proud that she looked the waiter in the eye to tell him it was her half birthday, that she said thank you to the waitress, engaged her in conversation and on the way home from Target, she thanked us 3 times for her new Hello Kitty rain boots.   Lately, I've been thinking about how I just have this one life and Anna Cate, you have this one life, and I want to make sure I carve out enough of my heart in yours so you know how loved you are, in addition to all the other important stuff to teach you like the manners, kindness, presence and confidence.  I heard once"you want to raise kids so that others love them as much as you do!" So while this precious little soul who changed my world forever 4 and half years ago is more beautiful and wonderful than I could have ever imagined, she is also more work. Yet, tonight with the manners, the confidence and sharing a Sundae with her telling me she is a Mommy's girl, I know it really is worth it, because this is the life and love I'm so happy to share. 

I learned about the half-birthday lovin' from my mom, so tonight I'm thinking of how much I love Anna Cate and how grateful I am to her Nana for helping me know ways to show her.

 ‎"Where did I come from?" the baby asked it's mother. She answered, half-crying,, half-laughing, and clasping the baby to her breast. "You were hidden in my heart as its desire, my darling. You were in the dolls of all my childhood games. In all my hopes and my loves, in my life, in the life of my mother, and in her mother before her, you have lived. - Tagore



And not to be forgotten...Molly is standing up for me as I learn the new camera.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where you are from...

Anna Cate starts kindergarten in less than a year and as my children are getting older, I'm starting to reflect upon how the next 15-18 years will look in our life.  Where do I want her to go to elementary school, and my mind is being led to this question:  Will she get  a neighborhood experience from school that can compare to the small town experience I had?  And how important is that experience? I think people from a city have that same identity thing -- some say, "I'm a city girl"; I say, "I'm a small town girl."  Totally different experience but the identifying with where you are from is the same.

I am from a small town, in a very small county in middle Tennessee and I have been wondering lately how much of "who I am" is because I was raised in small town.  How can I describe my hometown? I disliked it but I loved it; I ran from it, but I find myself thinking my children are going to miss out on some of the experiences I had because I grew up there, and that saddens me.  When I think on what I value about Centerville, I think about how much people really seem to care about others.  I think about how class really isn't an issue; there are sports, schools, church and family friends. People know who you are and care simply because you are living in the same town.

I told my father I was having these questions, and he said his theory is this: some places you just live, some places you are from.  I wonder what makes the difference. What do you think?
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This past Sunday was Molly's parent/child dedication at the Fredericksburg Baptist Church, where BJ grew up and where we met.  I am not Baptist, really, but was invited to go by my friend Norah and loved the people. Like a small town, a church is really about the people.

I stood with BJ and our girls, looking out on that congregation whom I love as my church family, as we made these vows to each other:

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Congregation: Our love is with you, with Molly, and with her sister Anna Cate, especially on this day.
Parents and Sister: We give thanks to God for your love.
Congregation: We promise to provide your family with opportunities for growth and fellowship in this community of faith.
Parents: We give thanks to God for the many ways you will prepare our family to live as faithful children of God, and we pledge to make being here for worship, study, and fellowship a spiritual practice that is important to us.
Congregation: In thanks for your commitment to God, to your child, and to us as a family of faith, we promise to grow with you as Molly grows; we commit ourselves to walking with you through good times and bad, remembering always that God asks us to forgive as God forgives, to nurture as God nurtures, to love as God loves.

And, I know that this is where my children are  are going to be from....IMG_0115.jpg
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These are the sweet spirits and friends who will care for her in that community way I hold so dear, for this is our community of faith. I am familiar with the results of this rich experience.....BJ is a product of that community, of that love and committment of which my daughters' are now the recipients.

My dear father is a man of deep thoughts and a gifted writer, an old soul fond of communities, wherever he scours the country finding authentic ones... on college campuses, amidst skyscraper, in monasteries, in small towns and in all forms of houses of worship. 
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So I asked him to write about the dedication for the blog, but on this topic of  where we come from, I will say this about our day of celebration.


While there were preparations and decorations  by Carolyn for a party at Eileen's .......

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::for pretty little girls in precious white dresses from Nana......

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::with friends who are our chosen family here.......
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The dedication and its festivities began and ended at the same place.

That is in our hearts and minds, as we were thinking about where BJ came from......... his mother, Susie.  The service began with a hymn that made us think of her and words from her dear friend, Larry, who reminded us of her presence in that cloud of witnesses.

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And, we ended up at a place to remember her...
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 to say thank you for being a part of and helping to create such a community for your grand daughters.
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 Anna Cate said, "I miss Grammy; I wish I would have known her," but I believe in a way she will "know" her simply because she will be loved by the community that vowed to love Molly hours earlier,

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who now love Anna Cate for Susie, (see Patti and Brenda with AC on the day she was dedicated)
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and in whose section of this old cemetary we were lingering to honor her, too, as we celebrated Molly.
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

A tea party....

becomes magical when Nana and Daddy Doug are around.

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On a Sunday evening, lounging on the couch...


transcends itself into an occasion with some "fancy" clothes and a very excited 4 year old.

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Here are some highlights of the event, sprinkled with some great lines. I just asked Mom to give me a word to describe it and her word is hilarious....If I typed every line to you, it might not seem so funny and be one of those "you have to be there" explanations of humor, so I'll just let some of the images show the fun.

BJ and I were "the help."
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Anna Cate thought it needed ambiance so she turned off the lights, got out a reading lamp and a step stool for the table.
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Anna Cate to Daddy Doug, "why didn't you bring your tuxedo?"
to Nana in a cocktail dress and headdress of streamers, "you look charming...that is another word for beautiful."
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BJ as he is serving, "we have cinnamon twists, powdery cookie things (Russian tea cakes leftover from Molly's luncheon), and the fresh catch of the day" (goldfish). IMG_0240.jpg
He refilled their drinks of apple juice in a shaker, AC exclaimed NO...thinking it was a real drink, which is probably bad that my daughter knows what a real martini comes out of?!

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Laughter abounded as we pretended to be fancy but the love and fun was all genuine!
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 Anna Cate had to get up and dance a bit, since she had an audience, of course.
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Molly thought it was worth the effort to stay awake to make an appearance:

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And get a dance in with Daddy Doug:
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Oh, Molly Mae, aren't you in for some fun times?  Lately I keep thinking as I am watching Anna Cate's moments of fun flash before my eyes and feeling my heart break a little as it is flying by, "How cool is it that I get to do this all over again?!"  I think tea parties will be a staple in the King/Bates family tradition for years to come.