I'm predicting it now: when Lizzie grows up, I think she'll be involved somehow in the medical profession...my best guess is as a doctor or nurse.
For a long time already, Lizzie has demonstrated a fairly pronounced gift of compassion along with an utter lack of squeamishness. A perfect example is what happened today.
It was still early in the morning. Lizzie and I were cuddling upstairs on Geoff's and my bed. The boys were in the basement playing a loud game of baseball. All of the sudden, I heard footsteps thundering up the stairs and Seth burst into the room crying hard. He'd fallen and cut himself just above his eye (had it been a half inch lower...but thank God it wasn't). It was a fairly wide cut and very bloody. I immediately put a cloth on his cut and pressed down, trying to stop the bleeding. While I was trying to take care of him, I found myself getting annoyed with Lizzie because she kept pushing her way between me and Seth. Finally, I spoke a little harshly to her: "Lizzie, please stop pushing - I need to take care of Seth's cut."
"But Mommy, I'll do it," she protested, not moving a millimetre. I ignored her for a few seconds but she was determined and so I said ok. I told Seth to lie down on the bed and I handed over the swab to Lizzie and showed her how to press down on it. She did it, and beautifully. With one hand she pressed down on the cut, and with the other hand she rubbed Seth's stomach and told him it was going to be ok.
She had tears in her eyes.
Five or so minutes later, when the bleeding was slowing, Lizzie said to me, "Mommy, hold that. Don't leave Seth. I'll be right back."
She took off out of the room and came back a moment later with her favourite blanket - the soft polka dot one that we gave her in Ethiopia. She tucked it around him and then took off again, running downstairs as fast as her short little legs could carry her. I had no idea where she was off to.
A minute later she was back, running through the door and hitching herself back onto the bed.
She had a toy stethoscope in her hand.
I grabbed my camera which, thank goodness, was sitting on my dresser.
Dead serious, Lizzie fitted the ear pieces of her plastic stethoscope into her ear and simultaneously lifted Seth's pajama shirt. She put the end of the stethoscope right over his heart and listened intently. Then she sat back and told Seth again, "it's going to be ok."
I have to tell you that when I saw her in action this morning, my adorable little five-year-old filled with an intensity that was more than a little at odds with her usual cheery and laid-back personality, I could see her in my mind's eye as a grown woman, doctor or nurse, maybe spending part of her every year in Ethiopia working with people who could benefit from a little of my Lizzie: My brave, overflowing-with-compassion, smart little girl.