Meet Amanda the Panda

Last week Tanner came home from preschool with Amanda the Panda.

For 48 hours this girl bear was to join our family. Along with her red tub of frilly clothes, the promise of fourteen wardrobe changes looming, and a journal complete with photos and stories documenting her previous adventures with other classmates and their families! Blank page after blank page stared at me, taunting me to fill it with our own chapter of Amanda the Panda stories and pictures!

Mom panic!!

Didn't Amanda the Panda know I had three dozen cookies to bake for the cookie swap tonight? Window orders to complete? The boys and I had dinner plans with my folks...

We didn't have time to take Amanda the Panda on a stroll down the Huntington Beach Pier, show her how to make beef bourguignon, teach her sign language, or even have family game night. I definitely didn't have time to take pictures and have them developed and ready for the journal in the next two days.

Think, think...

Well, it is winter, and she is a bear...perhaps she wants nothing more than a long winter nap while she stays with us. A good hibernation always does wonders for a bear, and Amanda does need her beauty sleep.

But, wouldn't ya know? There were no cupcake jammies in her red tub of clothes, so sleeping was apparently not on the agenda.

I strapped on my big girl mommy boots, changed my attitude and decided to approach this situation like any in life: make the most of the unexpected or unplanned.

I embraced the reality that Amanda the Panda was joining our family for the next two days, and let Tanner take the lead, being that she was his buddy.

I grinned when I saw him going through her clothes, inspecting the pinks and purples, the lace and frills.
Determined to get her out of the horrid blue tutu, he grabbed this lavender number and went to work getting her dressed. {Side note, is it weird to anyone else that a boy has to take home a girl panda? Why didn't Anthony the Panda come instead?}

I almost laughed out loud when he put the sleeves around her shoulders, her dress laying in front like an apron, completely open in the back. Not that I blame the poor kid... how is he supposed to know how to dress a bear in a dress?

He eventually figured it out, and for the rest of the afternoon Amanda joined boy world: she played "ninjas" and off-roaded on the Powerwheels Truck gifted to the boys by Jenna and Reagan. She was tossed in the mix of wrestling, sibling play involving tackling, then a hitting episode, some tears, apologies, hugs, then more wrestling. Her dainty dream had become a testosterone nightmare.

Joining our impromptu dinner date, Amanda was introduced to the family: Mimi, Papa, cousin Reesie, Uncle Doo and Auntie JJ. Nothin' like throwin' this Panda right into the family mix!

She fine dined on chicken alfredo and sat on Tanner's lap the entire meal. I did see her sneak some blackberries when the boys weren't looking, but we kept the secret between us gals.

She befriended Tanner and Ty's cousin, Reese, who was intrigued with Amanda's wardrobe selection, and, I believe was trying to help the poor Panda by getting her out of the pale purple dress and into something a bit more fashion forward.

Tanner clearly was not having it. 

 He loved her - lavender dress and all!

Amanda snuggled in-between Tanner and Papa while they read stories. I couldn't help but feel in a small way, that Amanda was a better Panda for having met Papa, for having spent time with a man of great heart and love for his family. I'm convinced she will reflect an appreciation for day-to-day moments after spending time with a man who only weeks before had received word that the growing spots in his lungs, were indeed NOT metastasized cancer. Somehow I think she knew she was snuggling with a miracle!

We never did take Amanda on a tour of Huntington Beach, or cook a gourmet dinner with her. What she did experience was life with our family for 48 hours- our seemingly normal, we-laugh-and-argue-and-ask-for-forgiveness-and-live-passionately family! She joined us in the everyday, perhaps her favorite hours at bedtime; Tanner holding her tight under his arm as we thanked Jesus for yet another sun and moon dance, a gift to live and breathe, to learn and grow. And then he rolled over, pulling her protectively into his chest, his mumbling slowing to sleep. No doubt dreaming of Amanda the Panda.

The next day, Tanner and I printed off pictures on cardstock and added them to Amanda the Panda's journal. Together, we relived stories of Silly Amanda and wrote them in her keepsake.
Funny how a stuffed bear had made her way to the heart of our family in just two short days. We were glad she hadn't hibernated after all.
Although, if Tanner's teacher can give us a heads up when her next visit will be, I'll clear our schedule and plan a shopping day to get this here Panda some cupcake jammies!

Thanks for visiting Amanda the Panda!  We are glad you came!

What would it look like if Amanda the Panda were to join your family for 48 hours? Tanner and I would love to hear an activity you'd play, or place you'd take her, in case she visits again.

1 comment:

  1. I always loved reading the Amanda Panda journal [or Zeke the Dragon...Greta the Hippo] to see how our sweets families were family on the weekend. :) I think yours is pretty wonderful!