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For the Love of Family

It's been a little quiet on the blog lately, but we needed just a second.

Recently, our family felt the loss of one of our own. We let you guys in to all of the good stuff going on with our family, but this time we need to make space for some not-so-good news so we can celebrate a beautiful soul.

Mrs. Rita Bates holds a special place in all our hearts, but even more so because she gave us our Em. And if you know Emily (even just through the blog), you know that the woman she called Mom was something really special.

Did you catch the FB post about how we adopt people and just keep on loving them the best we know how? Perfect example here: Rita became part of the family as one of my Aunt Kathie's friends. No need to explain the family tree, here's the proverbial tea: Kathie's brother, Rocky, ended up MARRYING her friend. The nerve, right? But honestly... no one could really blame him. Well, Kathie could. A little. But as was her way, Rita made it fun and made her place in the family as Kathie's girlfriend and Rocky's wife for a while.

She made quite the impression on Rocky's youngest sisters, who were just little kids at the time. My mom, Kelly, remembers Saturday morning trips to the skating rink: piled into the bed of Rocky's truck with her baby sister and Rita's younger siblings, topper on, cab window opened to let the AC back there. She is especially fond of Rita's habit of teasing the Krystal drive through staff by ordering "just 100 Krystal burgers please."

Allow me to interject a disclaimer that kids riding in the bed of the truck was redneck normal back then. Honestly, it's a miracle my mother, aunts, and uncles are all alive and well (physically anyway... lol).

Anyway, when we were texting about Rita and our memories of her, everyone agreed that she packed a lot of zest for life into her "half pint" frame. She was quick to crack a joke, and you never really knew what she might say next. Time with Rita was fun, and her unexpected rebuttals usually left everyone doubling over with surprise and laughter.

She was impeccably crafty and baked CAKES, like taste-amazing-with-cool-fondant kind of cakes. Rita absolutely glowed at each unboxing, and Elysse was always extra proud of her grandma's creations for her special day.

The best thing about Rita is that it never mattered if it was 10 days or 10 years, a little one's birthday party or chance encounter at the grocery store, it was always the same when you saw her: her huge smile and twinkling eyes, a warm and heartfelt hug and a long visit (whether there was really time for it or not). Those visits will be greatly missed.

So we will cherish our memories of that sweet lady, and we all look forward to a reunion on the other side. If you're lucky, you might be there too and experience firsthand that wit and warmth we will miss so much.

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