I’m not sure when it happened, but no one – not even Madeline – calls you Baby Rae any longer. I remember your birthday last year and how we still referred to you as this, and I wondered when you’d lose the “Baby.” Although you were losing some of the physical signs of being a baby - your softness and roundness, you were still very much my baby. You still are, but now we call you Rachel or Rae or sometimes Rae-Rae, but never Baby Rae. It’s a small thing, but it’s bittersweet because it means you’re a big girl now and those baby years are behind us.
Your everyday moniker isn’t the only thing that’s changed. You have, too. You’re getting taller and stronger. Just the other day I was admiring the calves on your gams as you stood on your toes to reach something. I commented on your strong calves.
“What are calves?” you asked.
I explained they were muscles in your legs. Then you wanted to know more about muscles. I never quite satisfy your inquiring mind.
Nothing much escapes your attention. You notice things. Just this morning you told me, “I see things in my mind, and I can make them look the way I want them to look.”
You’ve always been observant – a child prone to losing herself deeply in her thoughts. But you used to be more passive, too. Anything your gregarious sister said or suggested was gospel. You accepted it and followed her instructions and rules for playing without complaining. Now you’re growing into your own. You have opinions. You have desires. And you’re not afraid to make them known.
Oh, and how you have passion. So much passion. You’re brimming with it just like your mama. And I want to tell you something, my sweet, feeling girl, life is going to bring you incredible joy. When you’re happy, you will be awash with it. You’ll want to sing. Or dance. Or jump around like you’re crazy. Or sing, dance, and jump all at once.
But when you’re sad – and you will be sad because life is sometimes very, very sad and hard and overwhelming and lonely – you will feel like you’ve been ripped apart. Some people may think a heart ache is figurative, but sensitive souls like you and I know what it’s like to physically ache, to feel weighted down by sadness.
I spent too much of my life hating my passionate self or at least wanting to tweak that feeling part of me. I wanted to curb my emotions and sometimes even hide them. I did not want to feel anything so deeply. You’re only five, but I’m going to go ahead and say some pretty grownup things now because I want to spare you the angst of you trying to change the way you are designed. God wants you to feel deeply because out of this tender soul of yours is a wellspring of compassion and empathy. Yes, you’re more easily hurt, but you’re also very aware of others and how they might be feeling. Yes, you lash out angrily when you’re frustrated and you weep – inconsolably – when you are sad, but the happiness you feel? It’s untempered. It is a unique brand of bliss. There will be people who don’t understand why little things can stir so much emotion in you.
I’ll never forget finding you crying while watching the end of Beauty & The Beast about a year ago.
“Why are you crying? Are you okay?” I asked.
“It’s just so happy that Belle and the Beast are married. I don’t know why I’m crying because I feel happy.”
Ah, yes. Tears of joy! They are a beautiful thing. And so are tears of sadness. They can be cleansing and cathartic. Sometimes already I see you trying to hold those big feelings in. “I’m just blinking,” you’ll say. Or I’ll ask if something is wrong when I see your eyes wet with tears and you’ll tell me, “Sometimes my eyes just water.” Don’t ever be ashamed of your sensitive soul.
There will be people who question the magnanimity of your heart – how it so freely gives and gives. Don’t be afraid to give. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and to love and feel fiercely. It might sometimes cause you pain or make you feel like you’re crazy. (I only speak from experience here; there’s nothing crazy about you except maybe your horse craziness or your craziness for your big sister. You look up to Madeline so much.) But these are your gifts. Use them. Be grateful for them. Cherish your heart. Cherish beautiful you. You are so lovely, sweet, and sensitive. You remind me so much of me when you cry or yell or giggle uncontrollably. Maybe that’s why we occasionally clash. We are stitched from the same fabric, although I was never quite as introverted as you are.
You remain my contemplative, quiet girl. Time outs are not punishment for you; they are a luxury. Over the past year you’ve made it glaringly obvious that you need a fair amount of alone time. Here are a few things you have said to me:
Weeping, “I’m sick of having to see all these faces all day!”
Sitting on the front steps with Gaba, “I wish I could be abandoned.”
Then once you remarked to our babysitter, “I like to be alone.” [Dramatic pause.] “And cold.”
Ah, my little melancholic, you’re to great things. You’re going to use those great feelings and big thoughts and your inquisitive nature to touch others.
I love how you’ll find a bug or a flower, and you don’t just oooo and ahhh over it; you study it. You’d dissect it if you could – except you would never want to hurt anything – not a tender shoot of new grass growing in a patch of dirt, not a house fly buzzing around a window. Every life is delicate and sacred to you.
Things have been quiet around here. Let me take that back. Things have been quiet around my blog, but it’s been quite the opposite in my house. Here’s what I’ve been up to in between the normal domestic and homeschooling duties: Packing, making lists, making more lists, walking around my house mumbling a speech aloud, packing some more, waking up at odd hours in the night or early morning and remembering something else I need to do.
Why all the packing and prepping?
Because by the time you read this Thomas, my mom, and I will be on a plane bound for Peoria, Illinois where the Behold Conference will be taking place. Hopefully, there will be no explosive diaper incidents, inconsolable crying jags, or major delays. Back in Georgia, my husband will be juggling three little girls. Good thing two out of three now have a bob because my husband is the first one to admit he doesn’t do girls’ hair.
I can’t begin to express how honored I am to be a part of this incredible weekend. I just want to say a big thank you to all the hard-working Behold volunteers. I joked with one of them that I feel like a movie star because I’ve actually been assigned a personal attendant for the weekend. Everyone has made me feel so welcome from afar. I know I’ll feel even more at home once I’m the presence of so many warm, Godly women.
I do plan on giving occasional updates via Twitter, so feel to pop in over there. I can’t promise I’ll have a blog post up immediately upon my return to recap the event. My babysitter’s spring break starts on the 10th, and I know I’m going to be behind on everything from laundry to homeschooling. However, please do stay tuned for details about the conference. I’m going to have a lot to say. They’re expecting 600-plus women from all over the country. Do leave a comment if you plan on attending, so I can keep my eye out for some of my readers.
I’m reading Interior Freedomthis Lent, thanks to a friend’s recommendation. I feel like the book was written for me and all my issues. Seriously, it’s chock full of good stuff, but I thought this quote provided some good for thought during a season when we’re supposed to tread down the path to holiness. It can seem so unreachable – to be holy – but this wisdom reminds us that it’s not beyond our reach. Not at all.
“If there is one area where nothing will ever be forbidden to us, it is holiness, provided it isn’t confused with external perfection, extraordinary feats, or a permanent inability to sin. If we understand holiness properly, as the possibility of growing indefinitely in love for God and our brothers and sisters, we can be certain that nothing will be beyond our reach. All we need do is never get discouraged and never resist, but trust completely the action of God’s grace. We don’t all have in us the stuff of sages or heroes. But by God’s grace we do have the stuff of saints.”
This is what happens when X chromosomes outnumber you. You get a pretty pink gemstone earring.
And your new pink bling makes you smile because you’re a sensitive guys who is very confident in your masculinity. (Plus, nothing makes you happier than being around your doting sisters.)
We really are turning to big Star Wars geeks around here. A very generous uncle is making sure of it by sending costumes and other Star Wars paraphernalia at regular intervals. This week’s packages resulted in a smiling Yoda and Princess Rae-a. (Madeline Skywalker received a brown Jedi robe, which she wore out to the grocery store. However, we didn’t capture it on film…yet.)
Please keep a close friend of mine in your prayers. She’s scheduled to be induced this morning.
That’s all for now, folks.
Have a wonderful weekend!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary! Come tonight I’ll be hanging out with Jen and others in Illinois. Woo-hoo!