A Bat Dream

Over the past year, I’ve posted some notes and stories on Facebook that I’d like to save. Since I now have a blog, I decided to save those stories on here so I have them all in one place.

This story is from last summer about Annalise missing her cousin so so bad. It is the perfect story to post today for two reasons:

1) Today (March 10) is my mom’s birthday. And I’m pretty sure there is no one she loves more than her 5 (+1 on the way +2 in Heaven) grandkids. Except maybe my dad. But grandkids are a close second. Closer on some days than others… am I right, dad? All kidding aside, mom always loves a good grandkid story, and this story is about 3 of them. So, happy birthday, mom!

2) Annalise has really been missing her cousin Ellia lately. Just this morning, she was carrying around pictures of her and talking about when she’ll get to finally see her again. We really miss that girl. So so bad. And her mommy and daddy and sister. We are hoping to get to see them soon. And when we do, there will undoubtedly be stories of antics from FOUR hilarious kids – 5 if my other sis and fam get to visit, too. Until then, most of the stories will be of our two. But that’s okay, because even on sad-and-missing-my-sisters days, these two bring joy in a thousand different ways.

So here it is… “A Bat Dream” – June, 2011

Jacob has a giant blue blow-up bat that is as tall as Leesie. (No, I would not purchase such a ridiculously tempting sister-beating tool for him, but a nice boy gave it to him at the Raspberry Festival after Jacob tried to steal it about a dozen times. Thank you, “nice” boy.) Anyway, it is the only thing in the house that is the exact same height as Annalise, it is easily transportable, and it is the perfect squeezable toy for ginormous hugs from a girl of the same height.

So, naturally, Annalise took possession of the bat and named it “Ellia.” The real Ellia is Annalise’s same-age cousin who is a missionary kid living in Indonesia.

Annalise misses her dearly, and since Ellia left, Leesie has played with an invisible playmate she named “Pretend Ellia.”

Blue-bat Ellia has replaced Pretend Ellia. Finally, Ellia exists in a physical form… just one of a giant blow-up bat.

Having a physical replacement-Ellia seems to be much more fun for Annalise than an invisible-Ellia. First off, inflatable-bat-Ellia can give hugs. Well, not really give hugs, but hugs are definitely easier than with invisible-Ellia. Annalise squeezes the bat tightly and says, “I LOVE you, Ellia!” Then she kisses it, talks about being friends forever, and tells the blue inflatable how much she has missed her. And although she used to dance with Pretend Ellia, I now know where to look when she says, “Mom, watch Ellia spin!” So yes, inflatable-Ellia has been a step-up, (or I should say an upswing.)

But it has also been a problem. Mainly because Jacob also knows exactly where Ellia is now, too.

Sometimes, Jacob gets a hold of “Ellia” and beats people with it… I mean her. Or, he whacks the end of the bat on the ground. Both generate blood-curdling screams from his older sister about him hurting Ellia’s head. Never mind my head. Or arm. Or whatever it is Jacob can reach at the moment with the 3+ foot tall bat.

Other times, usually when Annalise has just set Ellia down for a moment, Jacob grabs her and runs as fast as he can out of the room with a big goofy grin on his face. This is usually a very comical site, as inflatable Ellia is much bigger than Jacob, and he doesn’t run very well when he isn’t holding anything in his hands. And of course, Annalise is right at his heels yelling, “JACOB!!!  PUT!  ELLIA!  DOWN!  NOW!!!!!!!” This usually makes his goofy smile even bigger, and sometimes even triggers a giggle. I’m thinking we’re in real trouble here…

But the biggest problem with inflatable Ellia is not that Jacob can run off with her, tormenting his big sister. No, I’m certain the biggest problem is yet to come. At the moment, Annalise spends nearly all her waking hours at home telling Ellia what to do. And at the moment, “Ellia” is nothing but compliant.

“Ellia, you sit here. I will sit here.” Ellia does.

“Ellia, lay down and take a nap.” Ellia does. And for as long as Annalise desires.

“Ellia, you sleep on the bottom bunk, I’ll sleep on the top, okay?” No arguments from Ellia. Not even about the choice of blanket or pillow.

Next year sometime, the real Ellia – the one that Annalise misses so badly that she actually carries around a giant inflatable toy to give her some sense of her presence – will be here. And I’m thinking she won’t be quite as accommodating to each and every one of Leesie’s demands. In fact, I’m thinking she may have a few demands of her own, as she is also a strong little three-year-old much like her cousin. (Right, Auntie Ko-Ko?)

I’m just so curious how this meeting will go, when both strong little girls at last get to be together to play – with a playmate who has her own strong opinions. Not to mention, there will be two (three, counting Riley!) younger siblings together to torment their older siblings as a team. And from what I know of Jacob and what I’ve heard about mischievous Alyssa, I’m thinking the combination of Jacob+Alyssa will be more than 1+1=2.

Whatever happens, I am so looking forward to the time when we can all be together and cousins can play and make memories like the ones I have of growing up with my own cousins. They are some of my greatest memories.

Although a giant bat may not argue much, real cousins definitely have more interesting things to say, and you don’t have to carry them everywhere you want them to go. But most importantly, they can return ginormous hugs with their own arms. That is a moment I dream of for both my kids, and for me. Auntie Holly loves you so much, real-Ellia. And your mommy, daddy, and sister too!

The REAL Ellia and Annalise running to meet for one of their ginormous hugs. Early Spring, 2010. I can’t wait to see this again…

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