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?
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:

IMG_0108.jpg picture by batesking04

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

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. 
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 .......


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


::with friends who are our chosen family here.......

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.


And, we ended up at a place to remember her...
 to say thank you for being a part of and helping to create such a community for your grand daughters.

 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,


who now love Anna Cate for Susie, (see Patti and Brenda with AC on the day she was dedicated)
IMG_3396.jpg picture by batesking04IMG_3400_00.jpg picture by batesking04

and in whose section of this old cemetary we were lingering to honor her, too, as we celebrated Molly.


Douglas Bates said…
I cant compete with that but I will try. Thank you for remembering my words. Tom smith told me he thinks of that mysterious dichotomy often. Will write this week. Love to all.I am proud of you all. Daddy
Norah said…
Beautiful...that's all I have to say. I was sad to miss it but I am happy I get to experience motherhood with you daily! I LOVE YOU!
AJ said…
Loved the music. Loved the picture of AC with all the younger kids! She will be looked up to as she grows older. too cute!