She ran out to the car wearing black and white striped leggings, a pink-patterened, thermal, long-sleeved shirt that said something about gymnastics, and brown and blue cowboy boots. Her long golden hair had been haphazardly brushed and pulled back in a pony tail and she had the notebook she’s been using to write her book tucked safely in the crook of her elbow.
“Are you sure that’s what you want to wear?” I gently asked her, hoping upon hope she would opt for at least a pair of jeans.
She scrunched up her round little face at me. “Yes. Why? Is there something wrong with it?”
“No. Not at all. Just wanted to make sure you’re ready,” I answered. I try hard to just let her be, plus, I don’t really want to add “pick out kids’ clothes” to my list of things to do. The only time I will make my kids change is if their choice of clothing literally hurts my eyes (like red shorts and a neon orange shirt. Yikes.)
She climbed into the car and settled in for the hour drive to horseback riding lessons, all the while chatting about her novel and how excited she is to finish it and publish it. Giddy, actually. She squeals at the thought of having something she’s written published by a real company into a real book. I know how she feels.
I’m smiling to myself listening to her. This child is something else. She’s kind and thoughtful, creative and funny, sensitive and strong. She’s smart and unique. I can’t quite put her into words.
At 7 years old, she still possesses that confidence I used to have. Her heart breaks for the down-trodden. Her laughter is the most joyous sound. She’d rather wear blue than pink. She’s a graceful ballerina and a fierce soccer player and an animal lover. She’s never met a stranger and if I don’t pay close attention, she’ll invite strange men over for dinner.
You know that saying, “All good things are wild and free?” That’s her.
I can’t explain exactly why, but I feel like I needed her. I needed her to break down the walls I’d built in my heart. When you’ve spent your life holding your true self back and then you’re given this person who does the exact opposite it’s nerve wracking.
In the beginning I found myself silently wondering Why are you so confident is yourself???
Now I’m more likely to wonder Why am I not?
We parents like to think we are the ones doing all the teaching and shaping. But, while we do have a lot to teach them, I think these little people have just as much to teach us.
These last 7 years she’s been teaching me how to truly live “wild and free”, to love with abandon, and to be myself. She’s one of my biggest blessings and challenges. And her name fits her beautifully.
We named her Grace.