My kids are so different. SO different, you guys. I am learning to be thankful for their differences and their unique and delightful personalities.
Let's start with Olivia, the beautiful, strong, independent one. From the time she could crawl, she earned the nickname "Dynamite" from her grandpa because she was always on the move. If she could reach it, climb it, jump over it, hang from it...she would. Fearless. Independent. Has a mind of her own.
When she was a baby, we had serious doubts whether she (or we) would survive her toddlerhood. She was the toddler who ended up standing on the counter and you had no idea how she even got there. She got her first concussion at 16 months, hanging from our newly-installed play structure tower, which led to our first ER visit. She just didn't seem to understand her limits or the meanings of the words "danger" and "no".
I'm pleased to report that as she matures, she is getting better and better at understanding and following established rules and respecting boundaries. She still likes to test the limits. I think it is in her nature to do so. She is an adventurer, a leader and a hands-on learner.
When she gets home from school now, we always talk about her day. She tells me, in detail, about certain lessons or projects they did at school and then she usually has follow-up questions. She also talks about her friends and the made-up games they play at recess. I love this. It shows me how bright and inquisitive and social she is. She is really in her element at school.
We do rote bedtime prayers, and then we always add personal intentions at the end. Olivia, when she is focused and not goofing off, always has great prayers. She prays for her 97-year-old great-grampa. She regularly prays for people who don't have houses "that they don't be too cold and they find places to live so they don't have to be homeless." She prays for priests. She prays for birthparents. She prays for kids at school who are out sick. Her prayers are most often for others and very rarely for herself.
Sometimes it is hard to see through Olivia's frequent attention-seeking behavior. But underneath all of that is a little heart that cares deeply about other people. I pray that we can cultivate her caring and empathetic tendencies as she grows so she can use her leadership gifts to make a difference in her corner of the world.
Tune in tomorrow for Part Two: Martin.
I'm participating in Jen's 7 posts in 7 days at Conversion Diary.