This has got to be one of my all-time favorite photographs. Ever.
Ashleigh, Full of Life at age 4 - June 2010
This photo of my fun godchild was taken almost 1 full year ago, in my TV room, during her 1st 2 week visit to my house in Atlanta. Normally she resides in Louisiana. To say that Ashleigh is a handfull is an understatement.
To say I was in no way prepared for how full of vim and vigor and silliness, and energy, and constantly questioning, and never-ceasing movement she was during last years visit, would be accurate. I had no idea what I was in for. My own daughter was 14 - so it'd been a long time since I'd been responsible for all that your average 4 year old is, and Ashleigh was no average 4 year old!
She helped herself to anything and everything within arms reach, including, but not limited to: chocolate, green beans, nail polish, perfume, soap, shoes, markers, candy, laundry (clean and dirty) jewlry, books, movies, cats, towels, scissors, blankets, pudding, a noisy singing and swinging snow lady (that I'd not gotten around to putting back in storage after Christmas 6 months prior), the curtains, and almost anything else you can think of in a house.
She corrected, at about 10 decibels, a stanger's child in the local Chic-fil-A. She smashed bags of chips at the grocery store (I think she liked the sound). She sang songs from VBS, repeatedly, ad nauseum. She almost always responded with a curt "No." the first time I'd ask her to do anything different than what she was currently doing. She asked me "Why?" about five-thousand times a day.
I haven't had that much fun since I don't know when! And I'll tell you the best "Why?" she asked.
Rebecca and I are very verbally and physically affectionate with each other. Several times a day she'll say "I love you Mom." and I'll respond "I Love you too Becca." or vice versa. We hug a lot, just because. If we're on the couch watching a movie, her legs are draped over min, or we're leaning shoulder to shoulder. While Ashleigh was with us, we'd be sure to also say "I love you Ashleigh!". For the first week, she'd just look at us - with a quizzical expression on her face. At some point over the second weekend we had the following conversation:
Me: "I love you Becca."
Becca: "I love you too Mom."
Me: "I love you Ashleigh."
Silence. Ashleigh comes near and very seriously asks,
And so I took her little girl hands in mine, I looked her in the eye and I said:
"I love you because your Mommy is my best friend and I love her, and we are like family. I love you because you have pretty eyes, and a beautiful smile. I love you because you make me laugh like I've never laughed before. I love you because you remind me what it means to have a really good time. I love you because of all the things that make you, YOU! You're my godchild and that means you and I have a special relationship, you're my special girl and I just love you!"
A smile slowly spread across her face and reached all the way to her eyes. Her face lit up and she said:
"I LOVE YOU TOO MISSY!"
Yes, Ashleigh's a handful alright - she's a handful of pure Sunshine. I can hardly wait until June!