I had the strangest experience this morning when I went to watch my sweet two-year-old niece, Autumn, at gymnastics. Autumn’s mother is my youngest sister. I’d given my sister a couple of gift certificates to this particular center because my eldest children, Eva and Vincent, attended gymnastics and preschool there for the first six years of their lives and it was a positive experience for all of us.
During the years my children and I participated in the center we got to know many local parents, reconnected with friends I’d known before, and enjoyed all of the staff. When Vincent went to kindergarten and Eva to first grade, I felt sad that our time there was finished.
This morning, it felt surreal to go and watch my little niece, Autumn, at this same place. I had flashbacks of Eva as a 13–month old in her little gymnastics suit, and I recalled vivid memories of Vincent just last year as a four-year-old in preschool, performing an obstacle course and receiving a ribbon at the end.
What special memories I have of this center and the children who attended with us the past several years. I don’t know where most of the parents are now, I don’t know which elementary schools the children attend, and I haven’t seen most of them since last June. Everyone has grown older and moved on to the next phase in their lives.
Except—wait. Um, Valerie. My little surprise blessing, my baby, my little bunny, is fifteen months old. I was told this morning that she can attend mini-gymmies each Monday. Before I even realized what was going on, I’d signed Valerie up for gymnastics at the same place her sister and brother and so many friends have attended.
You’d think after fifteen months that I’d be used to having a baby around here, but this little one still blows my mind. She is so sweet. She is so little. She doesn’t walk, and she doesn’t talk (except to say “Hi…”). She is loving, little, and precious. Neither George nor I can still believe we have a little one crawling around the house, brightening up our days with her innocent and excited dimpled grin.
Skill–wise, little Valerie is not where her siblings were at this age. And to be honest, her parents are not where they were when Val’s siblings were this age. We are getting older. Daddy must get glasses, and Mommy is asleep by 9 p.m. each night. Daddy came home from the crab season with a chipped front tooth that had to be repaired.
Valerie has her own mission and her own gifts. She is a bright star in all of our lives and the apple of all of our eyes. Next Monday, I will indeed take my littlest girl to mini–gymmies. I will likely be the oldest parent there, but that’s okay.
Having a little one like this keeps you young. Two days ago, somebody said they thought I was 32–years old.
I was thrilled.