Lily had homework last night. She's three-years-old.
Now, before you start saying, "What kind of daycare gives homework to a three-year-old??!" let me explain. It wasn't really homework. It was just a little project we had to do.
We were developing our family crest and had to come up with four things: our family colors, our family symbol, our family members and our family tradition.
I'm looking at it thinking, "I have no idea what our family colors are! And I certainly don't know what our symbol is!"
That night, I was telling Chris about it over dinner. I really had no idea what our family symbol would be. I mean, there are many things that are important to us and define who we are. How could I pick just one?
So I started thinking. What do we love?
Well, I went to the University of Alabama and I love the Crimson Tide. I especially love me some Alabama football. But it doesn't define me. (Well, except for September - December :)
Our faith is important to us. So is Melissa's Fund. But how could we come up with just one?
I decided we didn't have to. I divided our square into four pieces. In the first quadrant, I put the script "A" for Alabama. In the second square, I put the logo for Melissa's Fund. In the third square, I put a cross to symbolize our faith. And in the last square, I drew a maple leaf which signifies Chris' homeland and love for the Toronto Maple Leafs (which AC also loves to watch on tv).
As I looked at it last night, I thought, "that really does sum up our family." And as clueless as I was before I did it, it was nice when it was over to look at that and really think about what was important to us. The sweetest part was when Lily pointed at the logo of Melissa's Fund (which is a pair of angel wings with a halo over it) and said, "That's Melissa!"
When it came time to fill in the family tradition part, I asked Ann Catherine for her input. She asked me what tradition meant and I said it was something that you do as a family that is special to you. Without missing a beat, she said, "I know! Raising money for Swim for Melissa!"
Chris and I just smiled at each other. I was so touched that she would immediately think of Melissa's Fund when I asked her what special thing we did as a family. I know Ann Catherine isn't old enough to truly understand what happened to Melissa and what she means to us, but it makes me feel so good that she associates Melissa's Fund with our family. She understands that it's important to us. And that is so important to me.
When we first started talking to AC about Melissa, I struggled with what to say. Thanks to a very special friend, I settled on this: just tell the truth and answer her questions. She doesn't need a thirty minute dissertation. For now just telling her that Melissa is our angel in Heaven seems to be enough. There will be plenty of time to fill her in on the details. I don't have all the answers, but the fact that she thought of Melissa when talking about our family gives me peace that we are doing something right.