Man do I love this girl. She is growing up so quickly – right on the edge of tween drama and acne and so many things I’m not yet ready for . . . but still very much a little girl at the same time. It is confusing. Sometimes frustrating. But I feel so privileged to be able to watch her growing into this truly amazing person.
March is my month, and not just because it is my birthday month (which helps.) March is full-on spring in Savannah. Grapefruit blossoms and azaleas and yellow-green pollen coating every surface. Windows open. Sweaters off. The end of the school year finally in sight. March is good.
This March was even better than most. First, my incredible, amazing, wonderful and very sneaky husband planned a surprise birthday party for me. Which he told me about – leading me to believe he wasn’t so sneaky after all . . . until the doorbell rang on the day of the party and I opened it to find my very dearest friend in the entire world flown in from northern Virginia for a whirlwind visit! I cried. I might cry again right now thinking about it. It was the best birthday ever.
The rest of the month breezed by in a flurry of activity: St. Patrick’s Day festivities, visits from NayNay and Grandaddy, and a conference trip to chilly Indianapolis (including a very memorable dinner with artist Wayne White in the back room of a bakery) during which the stomach bug took down first Lola Gray and then Fletcher – thank goodness Grandmama Frankie was in Savannah to take care of everyone!
Family time seems to be hard to come by lately. The kids have become incredibly independent, which is a great thing . . . . but it means most they drop their school bags by the door and shout “I’m going to a friend’s house!” and out the door they go again. My time with them is spent fussing about homework and violin practice and showers. And I realize that the older they get, the more this will be the case. (Though I hope I can stop fussing about homework and bathing one of these days!) So now, while I can, I want squeeze in as much fun family time as possible!
Sunday afternoon we headed out for a walk at the Savannah Ogeechee Canal, a canal built in 1830 to connect the Savannah and Ogeechee Rivers, allowing southern plantations to move their stores of rice, wheat and lumber quickly and more safely to market. In 1862, General Sherman’s army camped in the area where the canal meets the Ogeechee River, before attacking Fort McAllister, a few miles to the east. Today the canal serves mostly as a nature preserve. There is a tiny museum (where we found baby gopher tortoises!) and an area where scout troops can camp – something I think we will be doing later this spring!
February: baking and homework, warm sunny afternoons after long rainy weeks, homework and baking and more homework. And Alton Brown! Trying to remember to find the beauty in the day to day seems harder in February, but spring is right around the corner . . .
I still can’t believe another year has come and gone, but suddenly my baby boy is eleven. And what a spectacular eleven year old he is! While our trip to LEGOland over the winter break was his official birthday celebration, we also had two fun-filled weekends to bookend his actual birthday.
First there were sleepovers with best buddy Ben and Lola Gray’s friend Sofia. We all headed downtown for pizza at Screamin’ Mimi’s followed by two amazing documentaries at the Gray’s Reef Ocean Film Festival. After watching Mission Blue, and despite the fact that it was way past bedtime, the kids wanted to stay and get autographs from the amazing Sylvia Earle.
Schools were closed on Fletcher’s birthday, so we had a lazy morning with birthday pancakes and gifts, then cake and lots of playing with neighborhood friends.
The next day, I took treats to school and got to visit with Fletcher’s class for a while. First I sat in on the tail end of a math lesson, and realized that 5th grade math is way above my level. Then I ate donuts with the kids and listened while they told me all about their field trip to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.
The next weekend, Grandaddy Mike came for a visit. Fletcher was still so excited about his visit to the Mighty Eighth, he wanted to take us all back on Saturday. I’m so glad he did, and so sorry we had not been out there before! It’s a really impressive museum, but what was more impressive yet was Fletcher’s skill as our tour guide. He took us through the entire museum, recounting interesting facts and stories and leading us through the history of WWII and the role that Savannah and the Mighty Eighth played in the story. This is one incredibly sharp kid we have on our hands here.
Saturday evening, Grandaddy treated us to box seats for the Ringling Brothers circus! There’s nothing like a clown nose and cotton candy to bring out the kids in everyone. Plus, listening to Fletcher laugh at the clowns is the greatest thing in the world. Seriously. I love the way that kid laughs.
To cap off the weekend, Sunday morning was Youth Sunday at church. Both Fletcher and Lola Gray sang in the choir, and Fletcher played an incredible violin solo of Simple Gifts. He was super nervous, but he didn’t let the nerves stop him. Despite a few slips towards the end he did an amazing job – and even got a round of applause from the congregation! That’s something you don’t see in a Presbyterian church every day!
I am so blown away by this crazy kid every. single. day. His curiosity, his compassion, his playfulness and his creativity, not to mention his smile and his incredible hugs, have made the world a brighter and more interesting place for the past eleven years – I can’t wait to see what the next eleven will bring for him!