: filled with strong excitement of feeling: ARDOR
K turns 8 today. It's both hard to believe and terribly exciting that my youngest child is eight years old. In many ways she's exactly as she's always been - full of life, exuberant, inquisitive, talkative. Of the five readers in our family, K is the one who will choose non-fiction over fiction. She wants to know about the Olympics, volcanoes, the solar system and polar bears - all at the same time. She's the kind of girl who brings her father his shoes in order to get him to brave the mosquitoes and kick the soccer ball around in the back yard. She makes a friend one day and wants them invited to her birthday party the next day. She is our family's ambassador in the neighborhood and meets all new neighbors before any of the rest of us, "Oh, you're K's mom," I've heard a time or two.
Of my three daughters, K is the least like me - at least from my vantage point. She's bold, cute, confident and knows no shame. In the photos that started this post, you can see the photographer trying to get her to stand still for a shot. K never really does, but her smiling face makes for a great shot anyway. I'm good at being still - physically and mentally. In fact, it's one of the things I do best. And while K can learn from me, there's a lot I can learn from her, too. I'm often hesitant to run towards the things in life that spark my interest - I'm sure K would find that concept completely foreign. I am quick to see my mistakes as larger and of more import than they actually are - K does not beat herself up over a slip-up, but moves on.
Today at church, we were sitting in our pew after taking communion when a family we love walked past on their way back to their pew. K jumped up and down waving to them. And while decorum might have dictated that I encourage her to sit, I could only smile at her. She wasn't being disrespectful, she was being enthusiastic. And every member of the family smiled back at K - she's infectious, that girl.
As the final member of our family, there are ways in which K sets the tone for all of us. About this time last year, K started asking about the Liberty Bell. I answered her questions as best I could, but what I was thinking was, "If she's old enough to ask about these things, we can go there on a vacation!" So this Friday, we leave for Philadelphia. K's old enough to hang with us while we tour Independence Hall, visit the art museum, drive out to Lancashire and see the sights. She doesn't need naps and in fact probably has more energy than the rest of our family. She won't be bored with the historical information we encounter. Instead, she'll want to read every item and ask countless questions. My baby is finally growing up.
A and B were born just twenty months apart and during a very busy time in our lives. J was in graduate school, I was working full-time. We hardly knew which end was up. Yet when we'd had time to recover for a few years, we began discussing whether we wanted to try to have a third child. I am so thankful that we agreed to try for one more because the result was much more than we could have asked or imagined. I felt back then that our family just wasn't quite complete, but K definitely completes it. She is the quintessential representation of good things coming in small packages. She stretches the rest of us, demands that we pay attention to her and brings joy and frustration (sometimes in equal measure). In short, she completes us. We are blessed to have her. She brings an undeniable enthusiasm to her life - and ours.