Wednesday, August 24, 2011


1: consisting of parts intricately combined
2: difficult to analyze, understand, or explain

B is now 10.  Last Saturday, we celebrated by going to Holiday World with her sister A and two friends.  It was a great way to celebrate reaching double digits and entering her second decade of life.  If any of my children are symbolized by an amusement park, with its twists and turns, loops and swirls, screams and gasps, it is B.  When she was two, I could only take her to a playground if I didn't really watch her while we were there.  (I would look up from my book long enough to determine that she was still nearby and then go back to reading.)  She would lean way out, reaching for a bar that seemed just beyond her, only to grasp it and haul herself to where she wanted to go.  She rarely looked like she would make it unscathed.  Yet she made it nearly every time.  Around this age, I used to joke that if fear came in pill format, I would have given it to her because she had none of her own.  She still does amazing things on the playground - finding uses for the equipment that I'm sure the designers never imagined - but I'm able to watch her antics now without leaping from my seat and spotting her every move.

That fear (sadly? or thankfully?) has developed all on its own over time. At Holiday World, B rode the first roller coaster with great anticipation.  It was a big, scary, twisty roller coaster.  I rode it and could feel my neck whipping around.  (In fact, my neck was sore for two days after our trip!)  B decided after this coaster that she didn't like the part of the ride where you are climbing slowly up.  She didn't like the way that pushed her back into her seat. So when we got to the next coaster, B decided not to ride it.  We talked it through - she was certain of her decision.  She and I stood in line with her friends and sister so that they didn't have to wait alone.   While we were waiting, a couple behind us in line started talking to us.  They were intoxicated - I could smell the alcohol on them - and they were therefore loud, in our space and saying things I would hope they wouldn't say if they weren't uninhibited by drink.  When they found out B wasn't planning to ride the coaster, they started trying to talk her into it.  B wasn't swayed.  She knew her reasons.  I helped her explain that she had thought about it and just didn't want to ride.  I was proud of her determination and her refusal to be bullied into doing something she didn't want to do.  Maybe it was fear that helped her decide not to ride the roller coaster, but it was strength that helped her hold firm in that decision.

B is, and always has been, complicated.  She's the only one of our children whose timing was a surprise to us.  With both A and K, we were hoping to get pregnant.  With B, we were surprised.  And she's been surprising us ever since.  I've said before that I think it fitting that her conception was spontaneous and unplanned because that's exactly how she is - B refuses to fit into the molds people want to put around her.  This gets her into trouble sometimes.  Those who expect people to be straightforward and easy to understand are inevitably frustrated by B.  Is she straightforward?  Shockingly so, sometimes.  She will tell you exactly what she is thinking and feeling.  Is she easy to understand?  Far from it.  I've studied her closely for years and she still amazes me with the way she sees things other people miss.

Yet underneath her spontaneity, creativity and free spirit is a person who loves stability.  I think having a father who is a launchpad has served B particularly well.  She wants to know the boundaries, the framework, the rules.  Not so that she can stay within the boundaries, framework and rules, but so that she knows what she has to work with.  I think this has been part of why the transition to homeschooling has been difficult for her.  I am still hopeful that she will ultimately love the freedom that homeschooling offers.  I hope she'll hit upon a subject she loves and jump in feet first.  I've already seen hints of this with her first composer study.  She chose Bach so that she can not only learn about him, but learn to play Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring.  I have no doubt that she'll fuss and fight with me about the completion of her composer study.  I also have no doubt she'll learn to play the song beautifully and that the song will be her favorite part of the entire project.

There are times when I think B is the daughter most like me, but I wonder whether it's just that I want to be like her.  I see her unbridled creativity and her joy in it and I want to be that free.  I listen to her pour out her heart - with tears of sadness and anger, with raised voice and passion - and I want to know how to release my feelings instead of bottling them up.  I watch her learn a song note by note, working on it every day and I want to love something that much.

Being B's mom is a difficult job.  A daughter this intricately created requires serious work to shepherd.  But I have no doubt that it will all be worth it.  Because she is one amazing child.

Happy Birthday, B!


WordGirl said...

Some friends of ours (the Ws) gave B a list of 10 Things We Love About B today. I thought it was worth sharing:
1. She likes to do crafts with us (AW)
2. She is always so creative and interesting (EW)
3. She has the awesomest bedroom ever (EW)
4. She is a good teacher (JW)
5. She will play with me at the playground (CW)
6. She always has such a good outfit on (EW)
7. She is fun to ride scooters and bikes with (AW)
8. She rocks the piano (JW)
9. She's crafty (CW)
10. She is so funny (CW)

To fully appreciate these comments, I think it helps to know that AW and CW are five year old twins. B loves to play with them and thinks they are so fun. I love that this complicated girl of mine is so well loved by others outside our family.

Kim said...

Happy Happy Birthday Sweet B!