There’s a picture I’ve always loved of my second daughter running, when she was just a toddler, in our side yard. Her hair is just like white dandelion fluff, blowing back in the wind of her joyous, headlong rush, which has always made me think that a good American Indian name for her would have been “Wind In Her Hair.” Something about the picture just speaks to the heart of her spirit, her true identity. She has always held a unique position in our family, and we would all be lost without her. In so many ways, she anchors us all together. Like me, she has always needed routine (something hard to come by in our family!), and like me, she loves reading and books. We’re both deeply domestic, love animals (not that that particular trait is unique to us!), but unlike me, she excels at teaching young children. They give me the heebie-jeebies. I love them when they’re my own, but in large groups I seem to cause them to freak out and start jumping up and down and screaming. Before you can calmly whisper “hush up,”, she will already have them sitting quietly on the floor with their legs crossed waiting for instructions, which she will then issue in a calm. yet authoritative, voice. It must be magic. I definitely don’t have it. Maybe you could have given me a room full of middle or high school age “singers” and sooner or later I would have worked them kind of like a lion tamer, but that’s not at all the same sort of magic. I admire that in her.
She’s not perfect – who is? But she’s really good. And she tries very, very hard. Always has. And I still see that little girl in the picture when I look into her eyes. She’s still looking out at me.