On Sunday, my baby turned seven years old. I can hardly believe it.
Although she was almost four when she came to Canada, it is somehow significant to me that I have known her at 3, I have known her at 4, I have known her at 5, I have known her at 6, and now I know her at 7.
Lizzie is quite the character. Quite the not-so-little girl. It's hard to describe her in some ways, though those of you who know her will understand quickly the things I say about her.
She is a highly, highly extraverted person: Although she is slowly learning that her world won't fall apart if she is by herself for a short while, she clearly draws energy from being with other people and prefers it. She is charming, loves to laugh and to laugh often; she draws people to herself like a bee to honey, and she understands people remarkably well (including their touchy points!). She gets fiery mad very easily and stomps around and shrieks during these moments, but she forgives just as readily and she blessedly doesn't hold a grudge for more than a few seconds of arm crossing and eye rolling. In the blink of an eye, she can transform from a child who is furious with a brother into a child who is offering to fetch something for that same brother.
She rolls her eyes when disgusted; she crosses her arms, tilts her head to the side, and says "really?" in a jaded and incredulous tone when someone says or does something that she finds ridiculous or patronizing; she is awesome at knowing where she is in our city and can guide me home from even far off or new places; she has very little patience and, in true diva form, stomps her foot or grunts with frustration when she is asked to wait for just a moment; she loves building lego creations and playing with her new-to-her dollhouse; she alternates between taking meticulous care of her 'babies' and throwing them under the bed with abandon when she's done with them; she loves family and has no problem holding the complicated perspective that of course she can love both her first and her second families at the same time; she hates having quiet times on her own; she loves being read to and can sit cuddled under a blanket with me for two hours reading books without wanting to go anywhere; she loves God and has great questions about how He works in our lives, and she likes to ask her friends and relatives if they also have Jesus as their friend; she loves watching movies, especially if they're accompanied by popcorn; she adores hanging out with older girls and her best friends are between the ages of 10 and 12...and she seems somehow to hold her own with them despite the age and size differences; she changes her mind about things constantly and drives her brothers crazy in this as well as in her desire to be just like them and to follow them around; she loves to answer any and all questions, whether they're directed at her or not and asks a thousand questions a day; she likes to help around the house, particularly in the kitchen or with folding laundry (but she hates cleaning up her bedroom and folding blankets!); she's brilliant with remembering song lyrics and is going to be a wonderful reader not too far in the distant future, but to her 2+2 easily adds up to 47 or 63; she adores her grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, and loves to imitate her grandma's expressions with great precision and humour; she has a fabulous memory for everything except for what she's supposed to be doing at this moment; she is game to try eating pretty much anything and is one of the most naturally healthy eaters I've ever known in a child (she loves vegetables more than she loves cookies, though candy might give veggies a run for her money; she loves legumes and lean meats and nuts and every fruit; etc); she loves pretty things and pretty clothes and is great (waaay better than I am...thank goodness) at putting outfits together and would love to be wearing makeup already if I let her; she can climb trees, build forts, kayak, swim, and run incredibly fast, and also loves both skating and gymnastics; she is game for every single thing that we want to do with her, whether it's a sports activity or running an errand or a special event; she gives cuddles and hugs like nobody's business; she has the kind of relationship with her daddy where she pretty much has him wrapped around her little finger and uses it to full advantage but it's so sweet to see them together that it's impossible to want anything different (she even has a special voice for Geoff, which gets put into action the moment he walks in the door after work); and she has a twinkle of mischievousness in her eyes that would make one wary of her if it weren't for the knowledge that she also has a kind heart the size of Canada.
Truly Lizzie is one of a kind. Although we often feel like pulling our hair out at the challenge of parenting her many extremes, she is in far greater measure a joy to parent. It's easy to love Lizzie, and easy to scoop her onto a lap for a cuddle because she's always a willing and ready and equal participant.
For her birthday celebration, she wanted me to take her and her cousin Madeline to a nearby town where we could swim for a couple of hours and then have lunch together. Later that day, we had dinner together with grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins at Montanas (she loves ribs!) and she chose a strawberry fudge ice cream cake that I made for her. Her gifts from Geoff and me were: A classic, beautiful, second-hand playmobile dollhouse with accessories (which her cousin sold me for $60 despite having paid $50 for it second hand years ago!!); a rainbow loom; and two books. She had a great day!
We're so blessed to have our little Bean in our family. Happy 7th Birthday, Lizzie. We love you so much and we are very proud of you! May God bless and protect you during the coming year, and bring you much joy.