Fabulous Five

My dear youngest step-daughter….

This is what you looked like when I met you July 4th, 2008. You were still a baby in a baby car seat. The kind that pulls over the head and buckles in the middle.
Summer 2008
Summer 2008

Your favorite thing in the world was to cling to your Daddy like a monkey (still is).

And I don’t blame you. He is pretty darn comfy. Psst…..he is my hero too.

Life was confusing when we met. Daddy had moved out. Daddy had a new house and a new person in his life. A strange house. A strange person. Gee, that was scary. You were so little. It’s not easy when you can’t express yourself the way you want to and you don’t understand adult things. Divorce is not something you can explain to a two-year old.

Summer 2008
Daddy and Bridget Summer 2008

By the next summer, things were a LOT easier and happier too. You were more comfortable, more mobile, and by golly you found your niche enjoying life.
Summer 2009
Summer 2009

We were discovering so many things that you hadn’t done before. Swimming in the big public pool with a floatie. Chuck-e-Cheese, the Circus, and the Texas State Fair. Ranger baseball games, Mama’s pizza, The Purple Cow, and nail salons. Freeze dancing with a fifteen-year old.

Weekends at Disney Dad’s…..soooo fun.

You came out of your shell. You began to talk (and talk, and talk, and talk). And then, somehow, just like that, it was your fourth birthday.
Summer 2010
Four! The magical age that I wrote about one year ago when I told the story of shy baby chubba cheeks, and how you came into my life heart.

What a precious gift you are!

My favorite wedding memory, when I married your Dad was walking out of the dressing room to wait at the chapel door for my music cue. There you stood with all the other flower girls in your beautiful dress, silk flower girl basket, and silk flower hair wreath. I literally choked a gulp of tears down my throat, because all of you looked so gloriously beautiful, like living breathing Angels from heaven. I was overcome with emotion, and gratitude. The magnitude of this dream day pressed upon me and I just about lost it in a puddle of tears.

The funny thing was in all your ivory silk and tulle beauty, there, on your wrist was Sydney’s old red key chain. A wrist key holder she had in elementary school to keep track of her house key. Where you found it?…….who knows…..Why you decided it was wedding wear worthy?….I have no idea…. but it tickled me and I couldn’t stop laughing. A red curly corkscrew plastic bracelet in the midst of all the whimsy wonder.

It was perfect. It really was.

The joy and laughter you gave in that moment was just what I needed. My nerves evaporated. I became calm and peaceful, because here we were on this day – the one we had talked about happening forever – and it was perfect.

That’s what you do. No matter what, you bring great joy to our hearts with your show-stopper smile, and your hilarious antics.

This past year hasn’t been easy. With your Grandma and Dad’s health, the terrible car accident, and my never-ending-sinus infection – not to mention the many other changes we have slogged through. I feel like we haven’t had as much time for fun, even though we still have tons of it.

I didn’t plan a birthday party for you. Not ahead of time anyway. The entire family waited for information so we could celebrate your special day on one of our weekends.

Instead of deciding what to do, I went to you – the star of June – for a little direction.

I asked you…if you could have your birthday party – WHEREever you wanted – WHENever you wanted. Where would it be?

It took you two-seconds to answer as your eyes got wide and you began to stammer. In your rush to say the sacred name, you had to visibly slow down to speak it in the most articulate way possible so I would know without a doubt where it was.

A Chuck-E-Cheese party!

And that’s what we did …..

Wearing your pink party dress and fabulous Hawaiian Lei (that you found where?? who knows??).

We partied with tons of pizza, tokens, and a big SCARY grey mouse, you are still not too sure of.

Molly not afraid of Chuck-e-Cheese anymore.

Happy BRI-day!

Welcome to FIVE Bridget! I can’t WAIT to see what you do this year.

No doubt it will be as fabulous as you are.

The Cheshire Kid

Jason had the kids this weekend, but I didn’t get to see them until Sunday.

We get back from Church, then they arrive from Church with their Grandma (Jason’s Mom), and proceed to attack Jason.

Grabbing his legs, trying to pull him down, giggling madly, evil gleams in their beady innocent eyes. Scary, I tell you and they just came from CHURCH. Well, along with Sunday school snacks, which could include large doses of popcorn, skittles, and possibly liquid sugar shots? Yeah, I think that’s what it was.

Sydney was at home, she wasn’t able to go to Church, since she went to her boyfriends races the night before, and they ended late. I found out via Facebook she had a terrible night and possibly her boyfriend was cheating on her? What?!?! Her Dad even called me, once he got her update, to find out what was going on.

Oh my, is this how we parent? Of course back in my parents day, they had no CLUE what was going on. Unless you count the wailing sounds from my room, or Air Supply blaring from the speakers. I am grateful for Facebook and Twitter – I get to keep in touch with my teen. I actually know what’s going on or when something is going on (well at least more so).

I decide to go get her (right away) and immediately take her for chocolate, and guy bashing, aka The Cure.

The kids were so busy playing, they didn’t want to pack into the car again. J’s oldest wanted to stay home and kill Dad play with Dad. The plan was..I would go get Sydney and we would eat lunch, trash the no good cheater catch up, polish off desert and be good as new to reunite with everyone.

I had my keys in hand, and was saying good-bye, when I feel a tug at my pants. I look down to see the Cheshire kid. You know the one? Face of an angel, twinkling eyes, playful charming smile….yeah that one….the one that gets you.

J’s youngest, Bridget

Bridget: I go wit choo. (cocks head smiling sweetly)

Me: You want to go with me? (I point to myself, look around at J in incredulous wonder – J shrugs)

Bridget: Yesth, I go wit CHOO. (pokes me with her little pudgy finger)

Me: Ooookay. (still looking for help, getting none)

Don’t get me wrong, she asks to go with me all the time – it just usually doesn’t work out. Plus, she can get moody when she is hungry or tired (it’s so cute, it’s just like Jason). We had talked about doing separate things with the kids, so he could have some one on one time with each of them. This seemed as good a time as any. It’s just so strange to see her away from her older sister Molly. With them only two years apart, they are very close, they even sleep in the same room. Plus, she had never left alone with me. She is a Daddy’s girl through and through.

Alrighty then, I grab her car seat and off we go to get Sydney. She is happy, beaming her mega-watt charm of a smile. I end up taking them both to a restaurant. She was so good. Never cried, wasn’t bored, picked out exactly what she wanted to eat, and ate it. No fuss at all. I love this kid!

I had chicken nuggets, but I didn’t like the sauce, so I asked for gravy. I get my gravy and the Cheshire kid promptly dips her fries in it. I was shocked! I said, “Did you just dip your fry in MY GRAVY?” I give her the scary eye.

An eruption of delighted giggles burst forth, not scared at all, as she continued to dip every fry, cackling gleefully each joust. I immediately picked up the phone and text Jason. My text read:

Your daughter is country! She is dipping her fries in my gravy.

Oh my sweet Lord, the Cheshire kid is sucking me in. She likes gravy with her fries, just like a good ole girl from Oklahoma. We finish with dessert and come to find out, Sydney’s boyfriend thing? False alarm. Something about a fortune cookie on Sorority girls, huh? Whatever THAT means. Heh!

Back we go hand in hand to the car, Sydney helps belt her in. She hasn’t even asked about Daddy, little stink. She finally does in the car. We head back with her all grins and charming endearment.

Later that afternoon, as Sydney and I are preparing to leave, after we shopped at Wal-Mart for FIVE Operation Christmas Child boxes, with two still hyper banshees kids. THEN, stuffed them to the gills packed all of them. If that wasn’t a work out, I don’t know what is.

Here she came, the Cheshire kid, with those big eyes, and that sweet little face turned up to me, arms reaching.

Bridget: I go wit choo.

Me: But baby, I’m going home. (lifting her into my arms)

Bridget: I not Baby! I Bridget! I go WIT choo.

Me: You want to come home with me? Where will you sleep? With Sydney or me?

Bridget: Swedney.

Me: What about the closet? I can string you a hammock in the closet and you can live there.

She nods.

Bridget: I go wit choo. (lays her silky head on my shoulder)

That little Cheshire kid. I’d take her home in a heartbeat. She has charmed me out of my mind, take a three year old home with me? What? It’s like I’m hypnotized! Nodding my head, picking her up. Goodness gracious!

Me: One day, you can come visit me at my house, OK?

Bridget: Ochay.

Why do I get the feeling she is not going to forget that promise? What in the world am I getting myself into?

Oh, my heart.

Remember 1977?

Ha! I didn’t either until this email from my Dad.

Email: Do you remember exactly where you were on the night of Aug. 5th 1977? Long ago and far away? Dad

My response: Dad, is that when we went to DC and the Beach boardwalk? 🙂

Email reply back: Yes! We were in a small town in New Jersey getting ready to go to Atlantic City the next day!

Ahhh! This is good stuff. No I don’t remember the “date” exactly. I was 5 years old, but by golly, I remember the plane ride. I remember the boards on the boardwalk that sunny day we went to the beach.

This email came at the perfect time for me.

*God’s timing, it’s always his time.*

Just last night I was in a “discussion” about what children remember and don’t remember at what age. Like for instance, their first movie, I absolutely don’t remember my first movie. I vaguely remember a Disney flick at the Gemini Theater in town. It had Jimmy Cricket in it, which per Google (my child is 15 for gosh sakes YES I had to google it) is Pinocchio. Perhaps that was my first movie, but I don’t know for sure. My mother had four children. I probably went to the movies a lot just so she could have some peace and quiet time (chugging a bottle of scotch). The movie I remember without a doubt was E. T. The theater was packed. I even remember the seat I sat in. But I was 10 when that came out so it would make more sense to remember it so clearly, not to mention how wildly popular it was.
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