I posted the other day about how it was a strange experience to have a shy child when you are so very outgoing. Well, rest assured–God’s sense of humor is well-intact.
Oh, that funny, funny God!
We should have known from the moment of her birth that she was going to throw us for a few loops. We were prepared for the wonderful reports that expectant parents get–her first cry, weight, length, etc. Not to cast doubt on the doctor who delivered our precious bundle, but when he congratulated us on our girl we thought he perhaps he didn’t graduate at the top of his class, eh? Girl? I carried her completely opposite from my first pregnancy and we thought our vast experience of one pregnancy qualified us to predict the sex of babies, thank you very much. Nope. It does not. Sooo … after all those months of calling our wee-shy Lars, we quickly had to retrain our mouths to say Gretchie. One look into our precious baby’s face though and we got it! There was our Gretchie! (Here is where I should state that our mothers were both relieved that it was not a boy, as they were not big fans of the name Lars. I still like it a lot.)
To say God created us each as individuals is proven time and time again in my life. First and foremost, my twin sister and I are complete opposites. Second and just as foremost are my own two sweet girls. Gretchen is very outgoing and social. As a little baby and toddler, we had to keep a vigilant eye on her because she liked to find new people to talk to, and she talked to everybody! Cashier, customers, library patrons, church members, people on the street, diners in restaurants–she held nothing back. Because of Gretchie we made a family rule, “what happens in our house, stays in our house.” Strangers did not need to know that Daddy or Mommy said a swear word. Neither did our parents or our priest.
My mother has often said that four-year-olds like to talk to just hear their own voices. I have found this to be true, except in the case of Gretchie. She started at two. I was raised with the notion that if a child has something to say, you listen. It’s important to them, even if it is not to you. I have lived that way. I admit that I have spent countless hours listening to nieces and nephews, and friends’ children, and children I’ve babysat or did daycare for tell me details of stories because it was important to them. Gretchie was no different, in that I’ve listened to countless hours of her stories. What I did differently with her encouraged her to follow Mommy while I cleaned, cooked, gardened, etc., otherwise I would have been stuck in one place for a very long time. I’d probably still be stuck listening to the story that started in the school parking lot about a hot dog and ended fifteen minutes later in our driveway–and somehow ended up being about a blue butterfly. I swear listened intently, I have no idea how it changed. But it did.
Grace fell once and had to go to the emergency room. I was a nervous wreck–my poor baby! Emergency?! Oh, if I only knew my future … Gretchen had so many trips to the emergency room we no longer needed to show I.D. and insurance cards–they just asked if it was the same as the last time. She had a favorite hospital. Did you catch that? We went *often* enough that she had a favorite. Think about that for a second. She was a child. A favorite. <sigh>
Eventually her balance and klutziness settled and the trips became less frequent. But that talking! So many of our parent-teacher conferences had the phrases, “Gretchie likes to talk a lot.” “Gretchie has to work on her attention span.” “Gretchie has strong social skills.” You get the picture, yes?
Gretchie is now a junior in high school, so I am sure I have two more years (at least) of many of these experiences left. As long as I got my hair dye to cover that grey and keep my humor, we’ll do just fine!