When we finalized Haley Kate's adoption we gave her the middle name Kate. It wasn't the middle name we originally picked, but along the way it became obvious no other middle name would do.
We don't always choose the deep, unexplainable connections we have with certain people. My mom (Kate) and Haley Kate have had a unique bond from the beginning.
When Haley was still a baby my mom mentioned she always thought "Haley bales" when she thought of her name. It became a nickname my mom and Sean call her along with "Hay bales". Apparently Mom had a sixth sense about the type of kid Haley would be (or it was my mom's influence as a Montana grown ranch girl) because Haley Kate loves horses, anything farm related, and wears her trademark pink "cow boots" everywhere. (Whenever she sees a farmer baling hay she shouts out, "Look at the Haley bales! They're making Haley bales for me!" It's so cute I refuse to correct her.)
This fall my mom has been watching Haley Kate once a week while I work on writing projects. Haley looks forward to it all week. "Mom, is today a Beppe day? I better wear my cow boots. I think we might do some farmin'." She proudly weeds the garden, collects eggs, and stomps through the mud with her Beppe.
I wasn't too surprised when Haley Kate mentioned last month, "Mom, when I grow up I'm going to live with Beppe."
"Oh, really? When you're independent and ready to be on your own you'll pack your bags and move over to Beppe's?"
Sounds good to me.
We were driving down a tree-lined, picturesque road in our town and my kids were pointing out their favorite houses. Without missing a beat, Haley pointed at a house, "That's where me and Beppe are going to live when we grow up!"
The other kids were laughing, "Haley, Beppe already IS grown up."
She shook her head. "No her is not!"
At Christmas Haley got a "doctor kit" and spent the day making the rounds, purple stethoscope in hand. By the time we headed to my parents' house Haley gave us her updated plan. "When me and Beppe grow up we're going to be doctors."
"Oh, you are?"
"Yes. Aaand.... aaand we're gonna be hunters."
"Yes. To get deer. Mom, we'll bring you meat from deers we catch."
Last Monday Haley was keeping Sean "punkany" (company) while he was getting ready. "Dad- you know that me and Beppe are going to be doctors and hunters when we grow up?"
"I heard that."
"Aaand people will say, 'Who are you guys?' With a grin, she puffed out her chest and flexed her biceps. "We'll say, 'We're Haley and Beppe! We're strong and mighty!"
Also on Monday, my mom hurt her back. There wasn't much strong or mighty happening, but Haley crawled up onto Mom's bed with a coloring book and a genius idea that they could hold it between them and each color a side. She brought stacks of books, water bottles, and ice packs for hours of sitting, laying, and playing. I wiped out kitchen cabinets, swept floors, and scrubbed toilets, letting the two of them take care of each other.
I'm not quite sure how far my mom will get on her doctorate, although I'm certain she can bag a few deer. With Haley's smarts and quick thinking, I'm sure she could be a doctor if she chooses. At this rate I'm definitely going to push at least for a degree in nursing. I'm pretty sure her plan gets the rest of us off the hook for taking care of Mom and Dad in their old age!
Just throwing myself out there a bit...