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The other night we were at a benefit for the St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway that Ritchie has been working really hard on.  Ritchie took a trip out to Memphis last month to visit the hospital and attend a builder’s summit. After meeting the staff and patients at St. Jude, he’s become really invested in the project.  We try to explain it to J in a way she understands so we talk about “Daddy helping the sick kids” and “Daddy helping to build a house and sell the house.  Then they will give the money to the sick kids for medicine.”  Or sometimes, “These kids are sad, they have big big owies and so we can try to help.”  She actually seems to understand quite a bit of it.  It warms my heart to see her sweet compassion.  As we walked through the home, we saw pictures of children from St. Jude (if you donate to them, you know they send out the most adorable pictures of hairless children).  Jess and I talked about the children and “Why they don’t have hair?”  I explained that their bodies were very owie and they had to take yucky medicine and the medicine makes their hair fall out.  There was a local little, little boy there who was treated at St. Jude’s when he was younger.  We talked about how the doctors helped him, they helped his body.  She said “They give him medicine?”  and I said yes, they did, and see, now he is better and he has hair again.  We do the “friends of St. Jude” program, you probably do too, so when they sent us the little Halloween bag to color and send back for the kids to trick-or-treat with, it was perfect timing because Ritchie had just gotten back.  Jess said “And Daddy help dose kids?  Dose sick kids, daddy help them?”  Yes, baby, Daddy is trying to help them.  She then proceeded to rip the bag but I think she meant well.  And after a little patch job, it’s definitely usable.  I’m surprised at how much she understands and how much she can connect.  She never ceases to amaze me, this little one.    Since she’s two, and we were there for over 2 hours, we took a couple of trips over to the little community park.  The second time we walked over with a co-worker’s wife and 2 little boys.  Noah is about 6 months older than Jess.  She’s only met him a few times but they were swinging side by side and he proclaimed that she was his best friend. His dad asked if he knew her name, since they were best friends and all, he should know her name.  He asked what her name was and she said “Jess-ka.”  I was surprised because I’ve never heard her call herself  “Jessica” before.  It was pretty, and it was emphatic.  It sounded so much older than the “Dessie” I was expecting. As we walked away she was sad because “he my bess friend.”  Apparently they really hit it off.    I have lots of other stories, tales of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse dancing, swinging by her arms and legs with mommy and daddy, riding her tricycle (with me on a tiny 2 wheeler, being a “rider.”  “Mom, petend you a rider.  Follow me rider!”) running, running, running, selling toys at our garage sale to help fix her new slide, and having fun picnic playdates.  But it’s late and I’ve been running up a pretty substantial sleep debt these days.  So those stories will have to wait.  Goodnight.

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