When Kelsey was really small, my sister Cathy went to the UK for a few years.  She came back about halfway though for a visit; at that point, it was also about halfway through Kelsey’s whole life.  Understandably, the two year old didn’t know that aunt from adam.  So, when we all went to the airport to collect Cathy, Kels wasn’t sure how to deal with all the emotion surrounding this “aunt person” who showed up out of nowhere and made everybody cry. 

Later at Gram’s house there was a bit of a party.  The crying turned to talking and laughing.  Kelsey’s older sister seemed right at home with the aunt, but Kels wasn’t having any of it.  Then, the aunt brought out a big bag, out of which there stuck some curious and soft looking ears.  Aunt Cathy lifted out a beautiful tin lunchbox for Carly and Carly loved it.  Kelsey, recognised at that moment there was something special about those ears sticking out of the bag, and more so something about that aunt and all the stuff going on around her visit.  And so shyly she expressed it to the aunt:

“I ‘yike’ you.”

The aunt pretty much melted on receipt of that innocent expression of trust and all she could do was pull that bear out of the bag.  Kels and the bear (and the aunt) fell in love with each other instantly.

That bear, symbolic of the love that little girl came to understand that day, has stuck with her through all kinds of good and not so good adventures.  And Kelsey, in turn, reflects that love with steadfast genuineness and honesty.    

Happy birthday Kelsey. 

And many more and… well you know…

Happy birthday Aunt Martha.  Lots of us are thinking about you. 

It was supposed to be windy and rainy with snow flurries and cold today, like winter.  But instead we got this perfect October day: clear and crisp, with a sun shining so bright on that red and yellow and orange vegetation it hurt your eyes. When Cathy and I noted your birthday, she said “the sun came out for her.”

And I don’t doubt for a minute that’s true. Actually you were the one who taught us about magic like that. And to appreciate perfect autumn days like this one.

Aunt Martha, we remember you on your birthday and in many other moments because you are central to some of our most important memories. You were like the grandma your mother didn’t have the chance to be.  And we really hope you know now that you really did imbue her spirit.  You did.  We’re all carrying around a piece of her.  And you. 

And it’s on perfect October days like this that we’re particularly thankful for it.

Armed with sidewalk chalk and coffee (rumor has it that coffee was spiked with Baileys, but don’t quote me on that) my friend and her sister set out at 6:30 Easter morning to create a greeting outside the front window, bursting with love, for their Mom, who’s been having an awful time battling illness.

Kind of makes that overpriced Hallmark card seem lame, doesn’t it?

DawnMelArt2

DawnMelArt1

(Important Update:  Another rumor has it that it wasn’t Baileys but it was Godiva white chocolate liqueur that was spiked into the coffee.  But the source is sketchy.  So take with a grain of salt.  But definitely Easter-like, so maybe that rascally Easter Bunny was involved!)