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Alexandra, daughter of Mark and Amy.
I spent my first few days in Atlanta outside the city in Gainesville, Georgia, with my friends Mark and Amy and their eighteen-month old daughter, Alex (short for Alexandra).
Both Mark and Amy were wonderful hosts, and I've been lucky enough to score an invite to come back again and stay with them on Lake Lanier.
In the short time I had there, I discovered the wonder of Fry's Electronics, learned about Mark's wake-boarding adventures while we chilled out on the dock near his boat and enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Two Dog Cafe.
Apart from the R&R, though, I had a chance to observe parents first-hand. After seeing how Mark's and Amy's lives have changed so their seemingly every waking moment revolves around Alex, I am more confident in my decision to be childless at this time in my life.
Don't get me wrong... I think what Mark and Amy are doing is fantastic and awe-inspiring. They are both hard-working professionals succeeding at work life as well as family life. I guess I'm too selfish of my me-time to want what they want.
I learned even more with my nephew Alex, but that'll come later.
When I first got to their house, Mark warned me about one of Alex's toys lying on the floor near the glass door leading out to their second-story back porch. He said something about how the toy has a photo sensor to know when the right shaped piece is fitted into the board (think of a square block fitting in a square hole). His warning was about how sometimes the board "talks" on its own. I'll admit, I was only half listening to him.
The next evening (Monday) I was in that part of the house with my laptop. The sun was setting and Mark had gone to pick up Alex while Amy was on her way home. I didn't bother turning on any lights and was enjoying the slow-gravity osmosis of the darkness saturating the house. Suddenly, from behind me, I heard a distinctly electronic voice say, "OCTAGON." I'll confess to you here that, yes, I was momentarily startled until I remembered the half-listened to warning from the day before.
Turns out that as the room gets darker, sometimes the photo sensors on the toy think that a piece has been put in its correct place and it is time to announce as much to the world at-large.
Overall, there is one thing I took away from my trip to Atlanta: I am truly blessed to have friends and family that greet me and welcome me, even if we hardly ever see each other face-to-face. May the value of my life not be measured by my gold, but rather by my connections to others in the world about (and beyond).
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