On Saturday I insisted we all visit the playground. Annabelle doesn’t ask to go to the playground nearly as much as she used to and I’m so afraid that her last playground visit will pass without me knowing it. I got so tired of going to the playground a million and one times when she was smaller but the visits are farther apart now. The poem I first read 17 years ago about not knowing when you last pick up your child or hold their hand has haunted me all these years and I make myself sick worrying about what last I’ll miss. No wonder I am getting new wrinkles on a weekly basis. I talked about the playground all week and tried to hype everyone up but there was not as much enthusiasm from the other two. I made them go anyway. Mother’s emotional and mental health were on the line. Not at all to my surprise, Annabelle had a great time and ask to go to the playground again after church.

I think this is the second picture we’ve taken together in 2021 which means it for sure will be on our Christmas card this year.

We had plans to drive to Tallahassee after church and spend Monday dress shopping for Aaron’s wedding and have a quick visit to the beach. I assumed we’d make a hotel reservation ahead of time when it was cheap, but he who shall not be named so as not to throw him under the bus thought we should wait until Sunday afternoon to get a better last-minute deal. I won’t say who was right, but I will say that we didn’t go to Tallahassee because the cheapest hotel was $237 and I don’t pay that kind of money for a hotel that doesn’t include a view of the Italian coast. My friend Neighbor Doctor Sarah has a live-in nanny who came over Sunday night so we could go on a date since we were staying at home. There’s not much to do in our town, but we’ve been wanting to go to the ax-throwing place so we reserved a lane for 5 o’clock. I went a few years ago for a work party but Christopher has never been. As it turns out, the reservation was unnecessary. We got there 10 minutes early and it was closed. The sign on the door said they opened for reservations, which we had, but 5 o’clock came and went and still no one showed up. We had no backup plan because again, we do not live in a bustling metropolis. The only other option was mini golf which everyone else was at. We ended up going to a new brewery and sitting outside to play cards. It was nice to visit without a small chatterbox around but it came with a hefty babysitter bill for not a lot date.

Since Tallahassee was a bust, we went to Columbus instead. We went to the mall to see what wedding-appropriate dresses they had to offer. The department stores had dresses that were either matronly or skimpy and the size of a dishtowel that wouldn’t cover one of my shoulders. It was looking like the third strike of the weekend but we found a possibility in JCPenney. TBD whether I wear that dress or continue to agonize over dresses until the eleventh hour before the wedding. AB couldn’t get over the mall. She kept saying, “I love this place. It’s so cool! Look at all the stores! Look at all the people!” I was surprised she was so impressed until I realized that the only mall she has memory of visiting is the tiny half-dead mall here that has more closed stores than open and one end is being demolished as we speak. I did not plan for her to grow up as a small-town girl but here we are.

We visited our favorite park before coming home. We love sliding down the rocks and every time we go AB has more fun.

I expect she’ll be having fun here for the next 32 years so I’m not going to worry about when we visit for the last time. I’ll save that worry for another day.