Sunday evening, as the sun was setting and the air was gaining a fall-like crispness, I sat on the front porch of my parent’s home and chit-chatted with my 7 year old niece, Allie. Her parents and grandmother were loading up the Jeep, it was time to head on home … the weekend was coming to a close, and I too would be leaving moments after they drove off.
A wedding on Saturday (welcome to this crazy family Tom!) and a milestone birthday (90!) on Sunday, had my family smashed together for most of the weekend, eating too much cake and drinking just the right amount of whiskey sours. It had the kids falling in love with horses and riding a mechanical bull. It found us in a photo-booth wearing mustaches and dancing to Blurred Lines for the millionth time.
We spent time in the horse barn and walking the stone covered lane. There was talk of riding lessons and becoming a veterinarian. Of owning a farm and having her own horses. Grandma and I chuckled…those words and thoughts and dreams were once and still are, words and thoughts and dreams that still live within us. What is it about a girl and a horse? Or the smell of a horse barn? I couldn’t breath in deep enough. Or wide open pasture…there is a calmness that overtakes the soul when one views such an expanse- dotted with queen anne’s lace and blue wildflowers, lined and divided by fences, and barn cats scampering through. Perhaps it isn’t just the horse…
Sunday, we celebrated Grandma’s (Allie’s great-grandmother) 90th Birthday. There was a three tiered cake and coffee ice cream. Peach pie and vanilla ice cream. We did it right. Grandma told me she stopped counting birthday ages ago and perhaps maybe we should too. I think it is pretty cool that Allie will remember her Great Grandma. She will have her own memories and not just those created and formed by others.
It is obvious that Angie, Mark, and I are the fun ones in this bunch…
Fast forward to Sunday evening and we are back on that front porch, chit chatting. Allie was heading to Canada in the morning by way of Niagara Falls…at the moment she is none to happy about this excursion. Leaving for Canada and a fun-filled vacation means she has to leave grandma and grandpas earlier than she normally would have. She is so focused on the now. When does that stop? I curve the conversation to school…she will be starting 2nd grade in less than a month and this kid LOVES school. She is excited about science, and subtracting larger numbers, and she thinks she will be a good test taker – I believe her. She is most thrilled by the books she will read. She finished Charlotte’s Web (my old tattered and loved copy) earlier this summer and the glimpse of that book sitting on mom and dad’s table makes me giddy…
I wanted to know if she had a book for vacation. No, she said…she spends most of her time having fun – which means, outside getting dirty and fishing. But then she asked if I had a book in mind. I did. I told her dad to hold the car for a few minutes and ran inside and pulled out a plastic storage container from beneath my childhood bed. Little Women sat atop the pile of books. The full original version, it isn’t … but a simplified children’s version, that came in box set with Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables. Perfect for a 7 year old. She grabbed it and another book titled, ‘Mom, There is a Pig in My Bed!‘. I told her to start with Little Women as it is the better of the two. She ran to the Jeep and hopped in behind the driver’s seat. Happy as pie. Ready to go.
As they drove away and her brother was hollering out the window ‘ Testing testing 1, 2, 3 ‘ – I yelled over the boisterous 4 year old and told Allie to let me know who her favorite sister was and let me know if she falls in love with Teddy/Laurie as much I did and still do whenever I pick the book up.
Jeff (her dad, my bro) texted me Monday and said she had read 72 pages, that Jo is her favorite, and she adores Teddy.
It kind of sorta made my Monday.
Kinda sorta makes any moment I think about it.