Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This Child of Mine

She’s asleep in my bed. Her 4 foot 6 inch frame seems teeney in our king size bed. She obviously enjoyed having more room than in her twin bed because she has more books spread out everywhere. Sleeping in our bed seems to be the thing she has looked forward to the most this weekend while Jeff and Brighton are on a Father Son retreat. She didn’t have a long list of things she wanted to do while the masculine forces of our home were down in Grapeland, Texas at Frontier Camp. In fact, once she said, “I just want to hang out with you and when we feel like doing something, we can just be creative.” I laughed. I
had to. She knows me well, but not well enough to know that all my “creativity” comes after much brain stretching and energy draining deliberation. Most of this happens early in the morning while she is still slumbering or at night once she is tucked up in her room. And then, if it is not written on an index card, you can forget it ever being thought of again. Her plan to “just be creative” might have sorely disappointed her. In a round about way, I managed to pencil down a plan on a clean 3 1/2 x 5 without her clueing in and thankfully, it

After we spent a few hours with friends at the museum Friday afternoon, we headed to dinner. Her next words were music to my ears. “We ARE going to eat Mexican, aren’t we?” She gets it honest..... or maybe she's just well-trained. After our order was set before us at Mi Cocina (which she chose because she has “never been there before”), she squeezed a lime on her guacamole like a genuine senorita. She might like it as much as I do.

One of our penciled in plans was to start Anne of Green Gables. Actually, I had that one in Sharpee black but she didn’t need to know that. On Friday night, between the two of us, we got a hot fire going, gathered our snacks around us and opened the classic penned by L.M. Montgomery. Say what you will, but I have been waiting for the moment for years. We read to our heart’s content enjoying Anne’s
charming discourses that move from topic to topic faster than a thirsty hummingbird. We are just getting to know this unforgettable character and Juila is completely sucked in. So is her Mom.

At about 10:30 we mustered up some discipline from somewhere and closed the book leaving “Anne with an e” in good hands with the Cuthberts on Prince Edward Island. We got shoes and coats on to take a walk around the neighborhood which thrilled her to walk in the dark. To my surprise, Julia said she missed her brother. She said she missed his being with us and all his questions. Hmmmm. Here’s what I think-- I think Miss Anne of Green Gables reminded her of Brighton with all his meandering marathon monologues.

When it was time for bed, she was adamant about calling Brighton. She was truly sad that he wouldn’t be upstairs with her. These were her words, “I miss his ..... his talkativeness.” I would have never come up with that one for her. Never. Once on the phone with him she admitted, “I miss you, B. I am headed up to bed and I don’t want to go without you.” He must have tried to comfort her because then she said, “Yeah, but that’s two whole nights.” It did this Momma’s heart good to know she genuinely missed her little brother.

Before we left the house on Saturday, miraculously, after her Daddy’s birthday AND Valentine’s Day, she FOUND all her money! She had a whopping $8.24 to spend and it was already getting warm in her purse.

We met a sweet friend, Alyssa, for lunch at the Kimbell and at one point in the conversation, Julia announced, “I don’t find this conversation very interesting at all.” Thankfully, Alyssa is a good friend who knows the art of navel gazing is not part of our school curriculum . (Maybe I model it, but never would I teach it!) I gave Julia the “the look” which, evidently, communicated plenty and she decided to listen (or pretended to at least) whether she liked it or not. Alyssa, in true form, was quick to engage Julia and the next thing I knew Julia was telling her about a new expression she had learned from the book The Railway Children. A “first-class shindy”. If you are a person, you have experienced one.

I think she must have planned out her purchases for the day with her resurrected money while Alyssa and I were talking of things not “interesting” to her. Being careful to add up her total, she purchased four post cards in the museum gift shop. When the clerk gave her total, which included tax, Julia’s pigtails whirled around at me. I had not told her about “tax”. Her only knowledge of “tax” is pre-Revolutionary War and King George so I briefly explained it to her in current terms and what do you know? She didn’t like it. Next stop, Half Price Books. On the clearance shelves, she found 3 great books for a dollar each. She did NOT forget to ask me, “How much tax do I have to pay?” She let go of the quarter a little more easily this time but not without a roll of her eyes. The Boston Tea Party was making a little more sense to her.

We ended the day with Anne.....and chocolate popcorn and Pink Lady apples. Thankfully, Marilla Cuthbert's heart is softening toward this precocious child. Matthew Cuthbert’s heart didn’t have a chance but to be invaded by this darling red head. He was the one who picked her up at the station and for the next 8 miles, she genuinely charmed him with her zeal for all things new and promising.

And for the last eight years, this child of mine, has softened my heart like nothing else. First time Moms don’t have a chance as we look in their tiny faces and hold closely our little bundles from heaven. Julia Karis Sanders, no doubt, invaded my heart and lodged herself in somewhere deep I didn’t even know existed. Like Anne, she has been described as “precocious” and before her brother grabbed the microphone from her, she filled our home with one rambling paragraph after another. A couple of years ago, a fellow parent, a Dad, actually, wrote us a note to tell us he found Julia "charming". As any good parent would, we agreed with him wholeheartedly. And like her new-found "friend" from the pages of a book, her excitement is contagious as she anticipates just about anything, whether it be a pink cookie or a weekend with me.

This child of mine, who finished off the guacamole, bought art post cards and books with her money, rolled her eyes at her total, and got lost in a story about a girl named Anne, is curled up asleep in my bed.


Alyssa said...

That sweet, well-spoken, and thoughtful child of yours! Loved every moment with y'all, and I love how your writing let's me peek in on the moments when I wasn't there! And for anyone reading my comment, please know that Julia's comment at The Kimbell wasn't the least bit offensive. If anything, I'm to blame for forgetting that I had an eight-year-old girl listening.

Tori said...

What a precious post, Krista. Precious pictures of you and Julia, too! What a gracious God we serve - to allow us to experience such sweetness here on earth. I can't wait to share lots of moments like that with my little Allie.

Erica said...

It never ceases to amaze me with how well you put words together. I LOVE the way you write!
I would also like to ask you for a few suggestions.
Brea is 5 and I would love to start reading "real literature" with her...where should we start?
I value your input greatly!

Erica said...

OK, so I just looked to the right at your list of suggested chapter books...sorry!
I am going to go get Stuart Little. They love the movie, so I think it would be a good place to start!

Sarah said...

What a sweet time it sounds like you had. And building a foundation for later in life where the issues get deeper than Annes' problems.

Krista said...

Erica-- don't know if you see this but Stuart Little is a great place to start but you might even want to consider something shorter like the Courage of Sarah Noble or The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. If you get into Stuart Little and their eyes glaze over at all the words, come back to it. You'll know.

Amber Smith said...

You've inspired me! Anne is one of my favorite characters. Mary Alice has read the condensed version of the story. We've watched the movie together a while back, but never read the real thing. We are pulling out our copy of L.M Montgomery's work THIS week. Love this post!

Jessica said...

Oh, I think Julia Kris Sanders has captured my heart too. And I've never met her. Maybe someday...

Love to you, Krista! Jessica Brogdon