We stayed at the farm on Christmas and when we woke up, I had it in my mind to go down the street to Panola Mountain. We went this time last year, and it seemed like the perfect day to walk around in nature. I was finishing up a Christmas project inside when Charlotte came upstairs and told me that the bunny was dead. She told me that she was out of her cage, and the dogs had gotten her. She really wanted to go see the bunny and kept trying to watch through the bathroom window. I had assumed someone sent her in to keep her from seeing the bunny torn to pieces and talked to her frankly about what she might see if we went out there. When she still wanted to go, I took her outside. James was digging a grave, and his mom had the bunny wrapped in fabric (she was intact without a drop of blood thankfully). Papu had Winnie, and all the other animals were lingering around paying their respects. Charlotte had all sorts of questions, and I didn’t have answers for most of them. She seemed so grown up when she started crying. Her understanding of death had matured since the last burial of an animal on the farm. At first I tried my hardest to keep it together, and then I resolved to just keep it real. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. We buried Mrs. Lebronski and Charlotte planted flowers on top of her.
I’ve been dreading this last post of the year for the last few weeks. I’m not quite ready for the year to be over, and I’m not sure what’s next. When I set out to do this project, I had two goals in mind; I wanted to learn how to use my new camera and document Charlotte’s incremental growth through her play. This has been a very transitional year, and taking the time each week to look and think about who who we are and how we have changed has been more rewarding and enlightening than I could have anticipated. Looking back through the weeks from throughout this year, I am ever so grateful I recorded the things I saw and thought about at the time. My memory is no good, and there’s no way I would have otherwise remembered most of it.
After saying goodbye to the bunny, we headed to Panola Mountain as a family, Atlas included. As we walked the path, I thought about how a year ago when I walked this same path, I was pregnant with Winnie, and our other dog Ajax was still part of the family (after showing enough signs of jealousy towards Charlotte, we thought it best to give her to another home where she could get all the attention). Now I can no longer remember life before Winnie or life with Ajax. At the park, Charlotte used the map to set us out in the right direction. We were so engrossed in the moss and lichen at our feet that we forgot to look out at Panola Mountain and Stone Mountain on the horizon. Charlotte had to pee somewhere along the way and ended up peeing into her shoe and all over mine as I tried to hold her over the ledge of the path. She had to sit to dump the pee out of her shoes before finishing the hike. I’ve been waiting for her to fit into those saddle shoes ever since a lyric from a Field Report song reminded me that I needed to find some for her. I was wearing a t-shirt I slept in and some leggings I opened on Christmas, but I knew I had to ask James to take a couple pictures of me with the girls. This has been a great year, and I was there too. I now have two incredible daughters, and I want them to be able to look back and see me in their memories, memories that I hope they someday look back on fondly. Throughout the hike, I tried my hardest to keep it together thinking about this past year, but I had to once again resolve to just keep it real. It’s okay to be happy. It’s okay to cry. 2015 has been an incredible year, and I want to feel all of it.