I am looking at a picture of a 3-year old little girl sitting on my lap at our cabin. As I look at other pictures of her, my mind travels back to special times we have had together. I am proud of the young adult she is but I miss that little girl, too. Grandma and I have always told her, “Love you to God and back.”

I look at pictures of her playing in the swimming hole at the creek, riding in a tire tube through the little rapids into the waiting arms of Dad or Papaw. I look at pictures of her snorkeling and touching the fish Dad helped her catch.

There was the time she and I carved a Halloween pumpkin with my Dremel tool. We both had strings of pumpkin all over us from head to toe. We also carved deer tracks and other things with the Dremel tool into rocks and wood.

One of her favorite things was making Papaw’s famous cinnamon rolls with her brother. They both would have flour, cinnamon and butter all over them when we were finished. Grandma would help clean up the mess and we would all enjoy the delicious treat.

Wherever she went, she always brought her favorite blankies. They were soft throws to wrap up in because they “smelled like home.” I bet she still has some in the house she and her brother share at college. She loves her “Bubby,” and they take care of each other.

We would sing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” and other songs as we rode the ATV together down the cabin road. Her hair was always getting caught in her Papaw’s beard, and she would smile. I love her smile.

One day she was kind of bored, so I pulled the ATV over by a field of wild thistle with butterflies all over them. I handed her my camera and told her to take pictures of them, and she liked doing that. She became so good at it she has won several awards for her photography work.

We saw wildlife, found deer antlers and lots of other neat stuff as we rode. Later, she and Dad would ride the cabin roads with a special dog named Memphis. He loved to ride the ATV, too!

She loved it when her cousins, Ty and Sammy, would come to visit from Wisconsin. They climbed grapevines and hay bales, played in the creek and the waterfall, rode the ATVs and shot BB guns, cooked s’mores over the fire and had lots of fun.

We would all go to visit them in Wisconsin, too. Sometimes she would stay there with Grandma and me when Mom, Dad and brother would go back home. The first night, she would always not feel very good. She would say she had a leg ache, but Papaw knew it was really a heart ache because she missed Mom and Dad. I would hold her close to try to keep it from hurting.

As she got older, she started going deer hunting with us. She and Dad spent a lot of great time hunting together and so did her brother, Hunter, and I. Dad taught her well and has proudly watched her harvest several deer. Dad and I both agreed opening weekend of deer season wasn’t near as much fun this year with both of them away at college and not there with us.

Her Bubby helped get her first turkey, and now he’s teaching her to hunt ducks. She still fishes, too, and will sometimes catch fish when the rest of us aren’t. I think she just likes being on the water with her family.

Grandma and I have always said Anna can do anything she sets her mind to. In high school, she made the varsity cheerleading team as a freshman, made herself into an excellent student with good grades and won awards for her art and photography. I have no doubt she will graduate college and go on to make her dreams come true.

A lot of who she is as a person came from having a great mom and dad, as well as grandmas and papaws who have always been there for her. She also knows she is a child of God, and he is always there for her, too.

At college she has her Bubby, his girlfriend, Molly, and her family, and a duck dog named Maverick. Mom and Dad visit often and bring her baby, another special dog named Max, for a visit with his Anna. Grandma and I make the trip sometimes, too, when they need something.

Someday, a young man will come along. I am betting Dad will have a talk with him and Bubby will be sure to show him pictures of her with deer, turkey and shooting pistols just to make sure he is the right one. If he is, they will start a family of their own and make memories of their own.

I hope she tells him and her kids stories of swimming holes and cinnamon rolls, ATV rides and hunting deer with Dad. I hope she tells them of trips with Mom to Florida beaches and trips to Wisconsin. I hope she tells them of special times at Silver Dollar City and Disney World. I hope she tells them of shopping with Grandma and tells them about God, who loves them.

A tear runs down my cheek and falls onto one of the pictures. I quickly wipe it off and start putting them all away. Thanks, Sis, for all the memories.

I hope all of you who read this are making lots of memories with your kids and grandkids. Remember kids spell love T.I.M.E.

Tell them you love them to God and back!


                                         A FAMILY QUOTE

“Think of your family today and every day thereafter, don’t let the busy world of today keep you from showing how much you love and appreciate your family.”