Jingle bells, Abbigail and a doting great-aunt

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 29, 2005

Benny and I had a wonderful weekend-before-last in Birmingham; it was tiring, but in a good way, if you know what I mean.

My immediate family members were all there, along with Debbie's three children, son-in-law Erik and the two granddaughters, Hope and Abbigail, better known as &#8220Abbi.”

Toss in Hope and Abbi's paternal grandparents, Debbie's former husband, Jim, Jim's lady friend and his two sisters…well, the church pews were filled and the houses overflowing with assorted Killoughs, Lamberts, Longs, Franklins, Torruellas, et al.

Every time I spend time with Abbi, I admit I fall a little more in love with her. Those eyes (big, deep blue robs with a hint of gray)! Those cheeks (round, full, rosy and ever so soft and squeezable)!

Factor in a head of silky dark hair, an engaging grin and chubby, inquisitive little hands with dots for knuckles…a living doll is what you have

(I have lots of photos. Would you like to see them?).

Abbi was gold as gold during her baptism Sunday morning. She rarely gets really fretful, and then it doesn't seem to last very long.

This is a child blessed with a sweet and loving temperament – beautiful on the inside and out (did I mention I have photos?).

She isn't the only adorable kid in the family these days. Hope, Abbi's big sister from Erik's first marriage, is a loving and lovely child, too. She's also a bit of a ham, just like her step-mom, Heather, used to be. Abbi seems to be following right along.

Of course, Abbi's doting aunt, Shannon, home for a Christmas break from her teaching job in Korea, was quick to point out to all Abbi has HER dark eyelashes, thank you very much!

These days, I seem to gain more satisfaction from giving gifts than I do from receiving them.

I am the official family photographer for such occasions, so my presents end up in a lonely pile because I am too busy looking for any Kodak moments to catch on the Minolta.

It's fun to see the pleased looks on faces and hear the laughter or squeals of excitement (I'm not just talking about the kids. My oldest sister Debbie may be a &#8220grammy” these days, but she still loves a good surprise).

I really like and appreciate all the gifts I received that weekend – the books, the funky, vibrant scarf, the lovely amethyst jewelry from Korea, the Christmas cat socks, et al. – but again, it was something I gave away that truly gave me a thrill.

I stocked up on $1 Christmas earrings, jingle bell earrings in different colors and styles, from the local Wal-Mart before I went to Birmingham.

My sisters and mom all sported theirs on Sunday. And Hope?

I couldn't have bought a happier smile for a million dollars.

Every so often Hope would reach up, shake the bells and grin at me.

She was the only cowgirl shepherd in the church's Christmas musical that Sunday night sporting jingle bell earrings with red bows.

I really do like this great-aunt stuff.

Sure you don't want to look at a few dozen photos?

Really, I don't mind.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.