Eight years old.I didn't do much documenting of life in The Rental House. It almost feels like a lost period of our lives. One Saturday afternoon back in April as we were set to celebrate Ella's 8th birthday with monkey cupcakes in the backyard (a week after her real birthday, which for the third year in a row fell on the last day of our Florida vacation and was celebrated with doughnuts and go karts), I had a little bit of a breakdown. On many levels, this was not the place I wanted to be celebrating.
A few weeks later, I found Ella sitting on the couch with the sliding glass doors open listening to the church bells ringing. The Rental House was practically next door to a church where the bells constantly marked the time of day in fifteen minute increments, and pealed out a hymn every evening at 7pm. The girls loved to listen for the music, and wherever they were in the house they would stop what they were doing and shush each other every time they thought they heard it starting.
That evening in particular, as Ella sat quietly and listened, she turned to me and declared what a great memory those church bells would be once we moved again, and how much she would miss them. This surprised me, coming from someone who loved to exaggerate to everyone she came across what a hardship it was to live in The Rental House.
But listening to her find the good in the whole situation turned my heart a little bit.
And I acknowledged that there were some memories I would also like to hold on to from those "lost" months:
The fact that even though Ella finally had her own room (however tiny it was), she slept in her sleeping bag on a camping cot in Claire and Lucy's room almost every single night.
Walking to Papa Joe's for pizza at least once a week, sometimes in pajamas, because it was just that close.
But most of all, celebrating Ella's eighth birthday with monkey cupcakes that literally made her squeal with delight ("I love them!") and a trip to New York City for lunch at Max Brenner (her choice), a visit to the top of the Empire State Building, and a stop at the Lego Store in Rockefeller Center for a Lego police station.
Ella's birthday interview:
My favorite fruit is: plums.
My favorite TV show is: Full House.
My favorite thing to eat for lunch is: Bosco Sticks.
My favorite outfit is: my sailboat t-shirt and shorts.
My favorite drink is: milk.
The toy I love to play with most is: Legos.
Something that makes me scared is: when I hear loud bangs.
My favorite animal is: monkey.
My best subject in school is: math.
The thing I do the most awesomely is: violin or karate.
If I could go anywhere in the world, I’d go to: Texas, so I can see what it's like there. I would write about it and share it with my class.
My favorite color is: blue, orange, and green.
My favorite thing to do on the weekend is: spend time with my family.
The snack I could live on is: goldfish and fruit leathers.
My best friend is: Payson and Will.
If I had one wish it would be: that I could live forever.
When I grow up, I’m going to become a: karate teacher.