Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Light of My Life

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One of our favorite Holiday traditions involves going to see the lights at a local garden. It is a mother daughter thing. Sometimes we meet someone there, but not always. The constant is EACHOTHER. Sugar Bear and her mama are always there, TOGETHER, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

This garden is extremely popular, and through the years we have learned that there are definitely better times to go than others. I suppose some folks would just pick any old night between Thanksgiving and New Years to head on out there, but this mama isn't just anybody. She has ISSUES. Yup....and I'm not afraid to admit it.

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I have increasing inner conflict with CROWDS. I simply can not stand to go places where there are a lot of people. It used to be that I just PREFERED to no have many people around, but in the past 5 years, that preference has turned into a REQUIREMENT. If there are crowds expected...I will not even bother. I just can't seem to relax and enjoy myself when there are too many people around. I am bothered by everything they do, and distracted from my purpose. I get worked up about not being able to keep an eye on Sugar Bear AND take photos at the same time. I end up feeling frustrated and anxious. I believe that knowing and understanding my issues is definitely a good thing. I don't let it stop me from guiding Sugar Bear through a happy and eventful childhood. I just plan.

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This year was the BEST. Boy oh Boy did I hit on the right night to go. First off, you must go on a week night. The weekends are plain PACKED with people. So much so, that you can't even get a parking spot, and you can spend 30 minutes driving around and around waiting for someone...anyone to leave. Week nights are usually busy, but not crowded.

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It was the first week of December when I realized that we were having record low temperatures, AND no rain. Why on earth was I NOT heading out to the lights. It would be perfect. Cold, but not wet. We can easily pile on the coats, hats and gloves. Not having to dodge the rain storms would be a blessing. I quickly made a plan for a mother/daughter date for the following night. Dinner and then the lights. I was ecstatic. Sometime that morning, a friend mentioned that it would be indeed a perfect night, since a really POPULAR.HUGE.MUSTSEE football game was taking place that evening. A GIGANTIC smile spread across my face.
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It was a PERFECT night. The air was nippy, and our hearts were warm. We wandered around the nearly empty gardens, taking our time to stop and admire the magnificent sights. I'm pretty sure Sugar Bear quadrupled the beauty in that place the minute she walked in.

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I know it's hard for some to imagine, but there is just such a difference between seeing the lights with lots of laughing, running, talking people around, or having the opportunity to take in the peaceful brilliance that was that night with just me and my girl.


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After making the rounds of the garden, we always take time to venture into the caretakers house, where we climb the decorated staircase to view the lights from the upstairs window. Normally, there are so many people in the house, you are literally right on top of each other, and the poor children have a lovely view of adult backsides. The year....it was breathtaking. I stood in the doorway and gazed upon my little love who was enamored by the stunning view. It quite literally brought a tear to my eye. There is just something about children. The innocence is so very touching.

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Next, in the downstairs living room we were treated to cookies and hot apple cider. Yum....I can almost smell it...and taste it now. Again, in this room, usually you have to hold tight to your styrofoam cup hoping that no one will bump your elbow and spill hot liquid all over. This night...I as able to set my camera on a end table and set the timer to get a shot of me and my girl. We took a few because let me tell you...it is hard to look natural and happy ten seconds AFTER to pressed the shutter.

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Now, I don't want you thinking I'm entirely people phobic, because I am most certainly not. I just appreciate having my space. You'll be glad to know that we weren't completely alone that night. There were several small groups of people enjoying the lights as well. We were more than please to see, as we trotted out of the caretaker's house, that a small group of ladies had set themselves up in the gazebo to sing some carols. We happily headed over to sit with a small number of folks to listen, and sing along.

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Sugar Bear was excited to make some new friends, and especially enjoyed "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer". We hung around through several songs, then the chill started to creep in.


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As we made out way towards the exit, we came upon the beautiful fountain that sits in the center of the garden. A small child and her mother were there, and we were just in time to see the little one toss a penny into the water. Before either of us could blink, the mother approached Sugar, held out her hand, and asked if Sugar would like a penny for making a wish. My child looked up at me for guidance. I simply said, "you can take it if you want to. This nice lady is offering you a chance to make a wish." Sugar shyly took the penny that lay in the lady's hand, and thanked her. Quickly, the lady and her child walked away. Sugar Bear asked me what she was supposed to do, and I gave her a quick rundown of how it works. She looked up at me and said, "but what should I wish for?" I knelt down, and said, "Well.....you can wish for absolutely ANYTHING. Something for yourself....for someone else....for your family....or the whole world. It is entirely up to you!" She nodded her head, closed her eyes, and took her time.

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I took some steps back, aimed my camera, and waited. Soon her eyes popped open, her hand gave a toss, and I pressed the shutter. This is what I caught:

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Sigh.....one of my favorite shots yet. You can just feel her joy. I'm pretty sure that kind lady has no idea what her simple little gift gave to the world. This beautiful, happy little girl grabbed my hand, and as we walked to our vehicle I asked her what she wished for, and she looked up into my eyes and said, "That everyone in the world would have enough food!" Oh stop my heart.......


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I've said it before...and I'll say it again, "How on earth did I get so blessed?"


16 Live It or Love It:

Gayle said...

Time and time again you show the benefits of having only one child. So much time to get to know that one person. Truly special post.

Jeanette said...

OMw she is such a special child! What a beautiful house!

Janet said...

I have not words ... BEAUTIFUL!

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

Happy New Year! Beautiful shots...I especially like the one of you and Sugar! Looking forward to seeing all the great pictures you will have for us in 2010

Autumn said...

I love that last shot of you and Sugar. So so sweet. I thought about going down there this year to see the lights but because it's such a long drive decided not to, maybe next year. Oh and her wish made me tear up. What a sweet soul she has. :)

Life with Kaishon said...

This post was perfect. I love the pictures. And I LOVE the lights. I love her exuberance. I love the picture of you both. I totally understand about the crowds. I am not a fan either...

Are you going to go to Disney World ever? I heard that is the ultimate in crowds!

Marka said...

Beautiful photos with a beautiful story to accompany them.

Fresh Mommy said...

What a perfectly magical evening! I love that story about Sugar Bear and the fountain!! She is so precious, and so beautiful. This was so special!

Oh, and about the maternity shoots... oh there is just so much to it, LOL. Most times, my husband snaps the shots, and then Aliyah is running around doing something funny. Sometimes I'll make faces to get everyone else laughing. It's just all fun and games... and lots of snapping. :)

Donetta said...

oh Cory those lights are so stunning! loved that whale.
Your so beautiful even with only 10 seconds to spair

ispeakbeanish said...

What a sweetie Sugar is! Sounds like a great mother daughter night.

cat said...

Beautiful beautiful pictures. He fountain one is really great. And I also just hate crowds.

Erin Bassett said...

What awesome photos!! Night ones are so hard to capture. Great job!

Tanya said...

I am in awe..those pics are just beautiful..and Sugar bear is too precious for words! I LOVE that first shot of her looking out? Your pics came out so fab!! I took loads of xmas light photies too, still need to download them :)

Christina said...

You really are so very blessed with her...but so is she, with you!! What a wonderful night, Corey!

mrsmouthy said...

WHO takes such beautiful pictures of Christmas lights? WHO?!

Every time Vincenzo throws a penny in a fountain, he wishes for candy. We're working on the "thinking of others" skill that comes so naturally for SB.

Jo Beaufoix said...

So so lovely Corey. Brought a tear to my eye. x

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