The scene is quite familiar...family gathering together to honor young Sierra's birthday, a birthday song is sung, candles are blown out on the cake and cameras click away as presents are opened. Amidst the flurry of floating wrapping paper, Sierra appears as she should; excited and happy. It all feels, if ever so slightly, a bit different this time, though. Sierra Paige has turned ten; she's in double digit territory. As her Dad Dave put it, she's three years from being a teenager. Hearing it out loud has everyone taking a deep, cleansing breath.
Sierra's celebrations this year take place over the course of several days. There is a big party coming with friends but this one is a quiet family get-together. K and I arrived on Saturday to find Sierra and her younger brother Tanner fishing at the pond with their grandparents at Keith's childhood home. We walked back to the house where Grandpa Ken cleaned the fish they had all caught for dinner. Sierra showed us her amazing and unique take on the Barbie Dream House; a truly impressive collaboration of her Grandpa's skills and Sierra's burgeoning eye for design. Young Tanner was in charge of the accompanying barnyard. Grandma Helen made her sister's cocktail sauce and served it up with their signature fish prep...freshly-caught fish deep-fried in a cornmeal batter and served with homemade potato chips. We enjoyed this casual dinner on the deck while the kids put on a show for us. The big show was a mix of music, tumbling down a hill and made-up dances. Later in the evening, Sierra and her grandma made us all homemade milkshakes. It was all quite the idyllic scenario, even as its clear the kid's interests are changing as they get older...Tanner wants to play a Smurfs game on Keith's iPad and Sierra wants to discuss her love of Selena Gomez. Of course, there's also the moment during dinner when we heard Tanner singing him to himself...
"I like big butts, and I cannot lie..."
No, Tanner, isn't jamming to Sir Mix-A-Lot, the song is apparently in the latest Yogi Bear movie. The following morning, we gathered at the kid's home for a birthday brunch. We enjoyed the birthday girl's request of breakfast casserole as well as another breakfast family fave...homemade crepes. The wow addition to brunch for me this time was Dave's Cajun Potato and Sausage soup. Creamy and spicy with a couple of added jolts of Louisiana Hot Sauce; it was my favorite among favorites. Sierra opened her gifts, which included new boots and a CD player. K and I got her the Barbie Vacation Home with the sold-separately splash pool. The three-story Barbie Dream House these days sell at a cost of nearly $180.00...which is highway robbery, frankly. Whatever....the house Sierra and her Grandpa are building is way cool and completely unique. After Sierra and I put the vacation home together, she whispered breathlessly...."this is AWESOME." Whew....the birthday girl is pleased.
We enjoyed some cake and ice cream before departing. On the way home, I reflected on what Kim said... "you know she's getting older when the gifts are less and less about toys". Indeed, it was inevitable but still somewhat bittersweet to see. On the way home, my memories were flooded with Sierra's birthdays and Christmases past. The hobby house her Grandpa built for her. The cloth baby doll she rarely let out of her sight. Now, we're heading toward makeup and iPods.
Where did the time go?