Last week Ellie and I went back down to St. Pete for a couple of days so I could see my sister's latest show, Hello, Dolly at the Show Palace Dinner Theater in Hudson (which, by the way, is fabulous, and runs for two more weekends - so Tampa area friends, get on it! Book your tickets at showpalace.net and use promo code HEATHER1 for 20% off!). While we were in town, naturally we made some time to see as much family as we could, which really was everyone, thanks to a lot of willingness to rearrange and accommodate schedules on the part of our loved ones. So thanks for that, all of you!
This visit was the first time that I really saw just how many family members Ellie knows by name, and how she loves them. We all know she can say Papa very well (that's my dad), but I spent our drive home trying to get her to say "Aunt Heather" to impress my sister when we arrived. Alas, she stayed mute. Until we pulled into the driveway and she saw Aunt Heather, that is. Then it was all, "AUNT HEATHER!!!!" as she ran into her open arms, and she hasn't shut up about Aunt Heather since.
Similarly, when we had dinner with Eric's side of the family that evening, it was like she had been saying the names of these people her whole life. "Hi, Nonnie! Hi, Kelley! Hi, Ronnie! Hi, Charlie!" She was delighted to see everyone and gave out hugs and kisses like they were candy.
Again, the next day she spent the day at Grammy's house, and started talking about Grammy as soon as we pulled up. She had a blast running around with the chickens, playing outside and hanging out with a new Elmo my mom bought her. Grammy knows the way to Ellie's heart!
It just warms my heart to see Ellie showing such an interest in her family. When we got back, I wondered if her family recognition was just a fluke and Ellie was all high on adrenaline from actually being in the presence of these people at the time. I wondered if it would really stick. But yesterday we went through a stack of pictures of family members, and sure enough, Ellie named each of them off with ease. We got most of it on video, minus a few notables (I'm talking about you, Grammy, Gramz and Aunt Molly!), but what we did get sure is sweet:
VIDEO: Ellie naming off family members like it's her job! (Make sure your speakers are turned up so you can hear her sweet little voice!)
I love how much Ellie's family loves her and how much she loves them. I am so grateful that she has had this time to get to know them and form relationships with them. Family is so important and I love that she's already figuring that out. She is the sweetest.