My friend Anne, sitting on our front stoop with me and watching Meg prance around our miniature yard, aptly pronounced: "She's all legs." It's true. Where is the stubby baby who stumbled her first steps into my lap at 15 months? Where is the sweet, pudgy two-year old who went all over the house on tippy-toe? Where has that child gone? She's all gone to legs, ma'am--she's all legs now.
She's also all energy. She likes to sit and read but, man, tell her something just the teeniest bit exciting, and she'll go from 10 to 90 mph in 2 seconds flat. She has no brakes--at least, none that easily can be applied externally. She is out of bed at exactly 6:00 am every morning and--sploosh--head first into the day.
She's physical--so physical. I see signs of the sweet, docile"girlie girl" in her--mostly when there's a book or a coloring project or a game to focus on. That is, she can sit still. But mostly, she doesn't. And that's an understatement.
When we're lying on the guest bed together for our afternoon reading time, and I read her something happy from the life of Laura Ingalls, she writhes, kicks or lunges with pleasure. Sometimes she hurts herself. She couldn't hide her emotions if you threatened her life. We're working on self-control. But I hope she never loses the spark of visceral sympathy that literally makes her heart leap over someone else's joy.
She talks kinda funny. I guess she gets it from me. She says things like, "Mommy, your hair looks a little odd," and "Look, that tree is bursting into bloom!" She uses words like "perhaps" in every day conversation. I could definitely be wrong, but I don't think most other five-year olds do.
Sometimes, if she can't think of the precise word she'd like to use, she just makes one up. You might observe her break off a sentence, then narrow her eyes in thought. "That seems a little... that seems a little sploogie." She'll keep a straight face as she intones her originality, but if you can catch her eye, she'll probably burst out laughing.
Speaking of laughs, she has the loudest, loudest, LOUDEST laugh I know. (Even louder than Lindy Funk from high school. Now that's loud.) There's no mute button. And once she's started a good laughing spree, just try getting her settled down. Really, go ahead and try. I dare you.
She loves people. Oh, how could I even begin to name the people she loves, the ones whose names make her light up and jump up with delighted anticipation? Her family: Nana and Grandpop, Aunt Lena, Grandma Dawn and Grandpa Tom, Grandpa Don and Grandma Jan, Aunt Dacia, Aunt Jacqua, Ari and Aylenne and Baby Judah, cousins Ben, Elijah and Aaron... Her neighbors: Big Jack, Mr. Tim, Gregory, Jasmine, Taylor, the Gruner family, Jessica, Emily, Brian and their grandma, Aurie and Maya, Leah, Noodle the dog... Her parents' friends: Aunt Jessie and Uncle Kris and Uncle Brandon and Aunt Annie and Uncle Spitz and Aunt Mari, and of course all their kids--Jack and Emma and Baby Sammy and Baby Nate and Baby Mateo and... you see why I can't go on with specifics in this vein, but, trust me: if she knows you, she probably adores you, and it would make her day to see you and be able to hug you. That's just who she is.
She loves her Daddy. In the morning when he takes his shower, she sits outside the door and plays, waiting. Once he's decent, she goes into the bathroom and talks with him as he puts in his contacts, shaves, brushes his teeth, etc. Every morning. Sometimes they talk about deep things--God things. Sometimes they talk about silly little girl things. But all of the time, Meg cherishes her mornings with Daddy. And I know that her Daddy does too.
She loves her baby sister. "Awwww!" she says, about a dozen times a day, after Esme does or says something newish, be it ever so small an achievement. "She's so cute!" Of course, I always heartily agree. "Mommy, I love everything about Esme," she's said more than once. May it always be so, my daughter!
She loves her little brother, too. It's different, you know, this love between a sister and a brother. They don't talk about it much. And they certainly aren't always kind to one another. But when they find their rhythm and are playing happily together--ahhhh, Meg is never happier than she is at those times. And no one enjoys more of Meg's laughter--or enjoys Meg's laughter more--than Matthew.
I know she loves me too. It's harder for me to see, for some reason, but it is there--I know it is. It's there when she wriggles with delight when I praise her. It's there when she wants to help me around the house. It's there when she pleads, "Mommy, will you play with us?" Oh, and Meggie, I too often say no, holding cheaply your loving desire for my time, my presence! Oh, Father, don't let me squander the precious, short time I have with this little girl! Don't let me waste it on things that seem urgent and aren't.
See what a treasure she is! A gift from God Himself--a reward, the Psalmist says! Stroking her satin-smooth, no-longer chubby cheek this afternoon, I saw it. I knew it.
Oh, let me not forget.