Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Letter to (Seven Year and Six Month Old) Ann Peyton

 Dear Ann Peyton,

A lot to catch you up on. Let's see- the biggest things from this month were losing Granny and spending a few days at Mickey and Minnie's without them there.

We moved into Mickey and Minnie's house for a few days so we could care for my grandmother who lives with them while they helped Cookie and Conrad move into their new house in Nashville. It was much easier than I expected- the caring for an elderly person and the caring for my small people in an environment that's not our home and honestly, the tending of my own mental space. It felt good. Especially since back when I lived in this house I could hardly fix my own baked potato. I'm determined you won't be twenty years old and hardly able to fix a baked potato. Mickey and Minnie did SO many things well, but I wasn't really prepared to take care of myself in the real world.

Granny's death was something we were prepared for and while it was sad I am also happy, confident that she is in Heaven. She made me laugh so hard and made me feel so loved. It was such an honor to know her for the past twelve years and the truest privilege to get to introduce you, Graves, and Sarah Lamar to her. It's been a source of real heartache over the years that I didn't get to share y'all with my own very special grandmother who I was so close to. So the significance of the fact that y'all were known and loved by a great grandmother and, in yours and Graves's case, knew and loved a great grandmother is not lost on me. It's something I'll never ever take for granted. I am so thankful for her influence in your  lives, Peyton's life, and my own life. Labor Day was the perfect day to celebrate the life of Granny. She and PopPop were the two hardest workers most of us knew. Their legacy lives on every time Peyton works a twelve hour shift and then comes home and nurtures you guys. I hope that it live on in y'all as you learn to read and cook and garden and rock their own babies one day and more than anything else serve others and serve the Lord. 

You have started fixing her own lunch on a lot of days! The first day I did cut up the apple for you and you left a space between the turkey and the carrots and put two slices of bread and a Kraft single you had me use to make a grilled cheese. You also got a piece if provolone to eat for a snack while you were making your lunch and then saved the paper for a napkin. You and Sallie are definitely my eaters! You and Papa (and Graves) have also been doing some baking lately- sometimes late into the night.

You are still reading a ton and lots of more advanced books now. You recently read My Side of the Mountain. You just picked up a copy of we had gotten this Summer at a library sale and started reading. 

I recently explained to you what an introvert is and you pretty much told me I nailed it describing you. You had just told me that "I thought this was supposed to be an OCCASIONAL thing and it's gotten totally out of control", through sobs. You were referring to your brother spending rest time in the den with you instead of in y'alls room.You had just had your BFF over to play (plus a combined five little siblings) and you had so much fun but the people hang over was BAD and we're working on decompressing while still being gentle with Brother. Whew.

Speaking of Graves, I overheard this conversation between the two of you, which was hysterical because it could have just as easily been a conversation between me and papa:
Graves (With genuine sadness): "I wish she'd stay a baby forever..."
You (exasperated sigh): "Ugh, GRAVES, people are fun at every age."

Recently, I found this strawberry candy at Walgreens the other day and was so excited. My grandmother Bump used to always have them in her car when she came to visit us. I almost ordered a big package off the Internet a few years ago. They're my favorite and bring to mind so many sweet thoughts.Well, one afternoon you asked me for a treat and I said sure and expected you to climb up on the counter and get an Oreo per usual. You ran back to where I was squealing and the smile on your face was priceless. It's a look I see daily from Graves and Sarah Lamar but it's more infrequent with you (and I'm confident you are a happy little girl, you're just a serious child). You told me that you had found the best treat in the world and showed me. My heart nearly burst and I told you about how I used to eat them with Bump and explained to you how sometimes your favorite tastes or smells or sounds are made meaningful by the memories attached to them. You told me that plantain chips made you think of New York (we used to always get them at Trader Joe's). It was a special moment between us.
A little while later Graves came up to me and told me that the "most special-ist treat" wasn't candy at all; it was our baby. That was a special moment, too. It reminded me of a song Annie made up for him when she was about five that included the line "you're my present- you're the best present to me".
They treasure each other so and I know their memories of their childhood will be beautiful because they will be filled with each other.

We love you so much, sweet pea, and are so proud of you!

Momma (and Papa)

P.S. Your Halloween costume this year was your pick- a parrot- and it's a 5T. You're still super tiny


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