meeting emma belle, tennessee in september

My sister gave birth to her beautiful daughter earlier this month and I’ve been itching to go in and meet my first niece ever since. When I was Googling the drive to Nashville for a friend’s upcoming bachelorette party, I realized that my sister and brother-in-law’s farm was nestled just down the path I’d be taking, so I left a couple days early to do both in one trip. I booked a room at the Best Western in town so my polite family was not worried about accommodating me (and also so I could have access to a cell signal and fast food at night) and drove up the mountains. I stopped by the farm on my way to the hotel that night to say hello, staying too late and driving the rest of the way to check in around 2 a.m.

I woke up Thursday and found a local donut place close to the hotel. I figured they wouldn’t go wrong at my sister’s with teenage boys and a working husband coming home later, so I asked for a mixed dozen of whatever was most popular and paid $9 for the lot – I love the country. I set my GPS for the farm before I lost signal again and drove out to spend a wonderfully perfect summer day with family. Emma was much more awake when I arrived so I finally got to hold her and talk to her a bit, being incredibly cheesy and whispering all my hopes and dreams to her while she dozed back off. I feel incredibly lucky to be an aunt to four very different and wonderful nephews between Eric and I, and I feel even luckier that we now get to have that relationship with a niece as well.

doughnut shop windows

dozen assorted doughnuts

When my brother-in-law Tim got home from work, Jen took me out on their Kobuta to show me the full farm (she grows flowers and Tim’s family has been growing tomatoes for decades, so it’s huge) and we rode down the mountain road to the corner store so we could pick up snacks and drinks, plus a few things she needed for the house. After we got back, Tim took the older boys out to the grocery store while Jen and I fed the babies, before firing up the grill on the porch. With big glasses of sweet tea, we sat out there with him while he grilled us steaks and potatoes for dinner. We lost track of time again, and before I knew it, it was well past midnight and I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. I kissed everyone goodnight and headed back to my hotel room for a few hours of sleep, because the next morning I was off to Nashville for the weekend and knew I wouldn’t get much sleep there either.

wallets on the dash
Of course we would have the exact same wallets in different colors!

Thank you Jen and Tim for always making space for me at your table, and for introducing the world to Emma Belle. I don’t know why, but I’m convinced she is going to change the whole world. Aunt Jess loves you so much Emma!