Children are like snowflakes. In mass, they are similar and share common characteristics like curiosity, laughter, dreams, simplicity, play. However, each child is uniquely shaped and creatively gifted. My second child landed in this world eager to play and make friends.
As a middle child, she learned early how to adapt to her siblings. Let’s face it, if you want someone to play with, you have to be willing to do whatever they want to do. She played with dolls until her older sister outgrew them, and then she played with tractors and trains with her younger brother. Those adaptability skills have been useful in college!
She loves spicy food. As a toddler, she begged for salsa on her tortilla chips We cringed as she took the first bite and laughed as she smiled and said, “Mmmm.” Later, I found her pulling chives out of the ground to munch on while playing outside. And when I cut onions at the counter, she would reach a chubby little hand up to steal a few. For awhile, we wondered if she had taste buds.
Her spiritual antennae is tuned to the needs of hurting people. At eleven, she confided that she wanted to be a missionary. From an early age, she has devoured missionary biographies. When she wanted to learn how to share her faith, I pulled Witnessing Without Fear by Dr. Bill Bright off of the family bookshelf. And during a visit to Chicago, I discovered that she had stuffed her purse with snacks to give away to homeless people.
As children often do, they end up teaching us as much as we teach them. One day, she taught me a lesson about hope that I’ve never forgotten. She was about five, during the Beanie Baby craze, and she came to me with the kneeling bear Hope. Hope’s hands were joined in prayer, and her eyes were closed. She declared, “Look, Mom. Hope always prays.” She smiled satisfactorily and ran back to play. I still hear that phrase: “Hope always prays.”
Happy 21st birthday , Middle One. We’re glad you came to us. Or should I say, “We’re glad that you invited us to your party.”