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    Chasing Birds and Butterflies

    July 11, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    When A. was born, she was almost instantly and quite obviously the perfect match for E. This is significant as I had wanted a boy, and the children closer together at that {they are just shy of three years apart}. But the Lord built the house in His perfect plan, and I never could have imagined its beauty.

    It has been so interesting to me that our two oldest look so much alike–same strawberry hair, same blue eyes that turned to green around age two, same sprinkling of freckles on skin that tans rather than burns, same, same, same–and yet so very different.

    A.’s first nickname was The Bird. She was initially dubbed thus because of the way she ate when being introduced to solid foods. Just like a baby birdie, she tilted up her chin and opened her mouth wide and she sometimes made little chirping sounds. Later on, the name stuck because, as her hair grew in, she sprouted what could only be referred to as wings on the sides of her head.

    If E.’s mind is a steel trap, A.’s is…something else entirely. I was going to say a sieve, and she is by far our most forgetful child, but it isn’t just sieve-like. Quite often things catch in her brain, but they get so jumbled up as to be hardly recognizable, at least in the first few months. And then, suddenly, it’ll all fit together like a puzzle that some hidden part of her consciousness must have been working on.

    For instance, she was so bad at learning her colors that we actually discussed whether or not she was color blind. But now, at almost three-and-a-half, she knows them all perfectly. However, though she shows great desire to know how to identify her letters, she has already proven that the process will be much like color-learning. All we will see is confusion and error. But she has shown me that, somewhere deep in her brain, she really can figure it out. And I believe she will. It just takes patience on the part of the teacher, I think.

    So we have this scatter-brained, forgetful little bird who flits around sounding confused much of the time. She offers us all endless delight, but that isn’t all.

    She also offers us comfort.

    When she was in her two’s, the whole family knew that if they needed to hold a little person, A. was their girl. Just the fact that she let you hold her made you feel better sometimes.

    This has changed in her three’s, but I’m seeing that same comfort flow through her to others still, just in a different way. When Q. recently had the flu, A. was right there beside her the whole time. In the beginning, I tried to get her to go away, mainly out of fear that she, too, would come down with something and what would I do with two sick girls? But I began to learn that trying to help console Q. was showing me part of who A. is meant to be and who was I to get in the way?

    And so A. held Q.’s hand while she threw up, whispering softly in her ear that she was okay and Mommy would keep her safe. When it was time to clean Q. up, A. helped, and I mean really helped. I wiped one of Q.’s hands down with a baby wipe and A. wiped the other. And then A. wiped the floor while I changed Q.’s clothes. She hesitated to leave the room even to wash her hands, but I assured her that is what good nurses do. A. didn’t seemed phased in the least by the utter grossness of it all. She only wanted to love and help her sister.

    We have seen smaller examples of this in her before, but this flu was truly significant. I began to wonder what enormous acts of service this child would perform in her lifetime. Her heart is so pure and loving.

    Like a butterfly, however, this beauty is easily damaged, and I am learning to protect the most sensitive spirit in our home. A. has been known to cry when one of the other children is injured or disciplined. She has been known to cry excessively when something hurts her feelings. She is easily frightened. She is scared of the vacuum cleaner and anything else that makes loud noises. She earnestly desires protection, and often asks, “Daddy keep me safe? Mommy keep me safe?”

    She, like her older brother, is also simply an average little girl who plays with her dolls, takes the ribbons out of her hair even though she was just told not to, and refuses to eat her dinner on occasion {like last night}. But these are some of the things that stand out to me about A., and what I hope to remember about her as we move to this next chapter in our life.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply A doting daddy July 12, 2008 at 3:36 am

    You forgot to mention that when she runs with her dainty little hands turned outward, she looks like Cinderella. I half expect to find fairy dusk behind her sometimes.

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