I think most of us would say that we want our children to grow up and live as full or fuller life than we did. As we approach a new year, many of us look back on the last year(s) and reflect on what we would change. For many this means more time with family, more travel, trying new things etc. I can at least say that it is true for myself. I wish I had taken more time before getting married and having children to travel and see the world. Much of that is put on hold right now because well…planes and babies….let’s just say that there thousands of better combinations of things in the world. We still go places with them, but not as far or as often as I would like.
For now we have learned to adventure from where we are, and somehow God gave me this rambunctious, ever moving, ever opinionating [not a word, I know. But it fits], ever willing -the-universe-to-happen little girl. Charlotte is exactly like me in so many ways. In truth, that fact is simultaneously humbling and frustrating. To meet your most annoying qualities intensified in two-year old form is an every day sanctifying process. I think that is why God gives us children sometimes.
At the same time, Charlotte is NOTHING like me (or Dean for that matter). She is more like both of our siblings. My sister Paula has traveled to places I never thought of going, and is currently doing missions work for Seeds of Hope in Costa Rica. Dean’s brother Curt, who is a marine, is always off to somewhere: out with friends, going back to school, on a three-week trip to Europe. And Charlotte, she is like them: outgoing, and fearless. The child leaps from the couch, bounding from chair to ottoman without a care in the world. She climbs to the top of the playground as if she were a 5 year old. I don’t think she has ever thought of herself as her actual age; she truly believes she can do whatever all the other, older children are doing.
But I think I needed that in my life. I needed a child who, when she first laid eyes on Camelback Mountain close up, stated with utmost certainty, “I climb that.” I needed a child who wants to get dirty and play in the rain even if she is in her favorite Elsa dress. I needed a child who spontaneously decided that the only right way to drink hot chocolate was in the cold, so upon her prompting we sat out in the carport in the damp, chilliness of the night. I need that. I need it because it ignites the adventurer inside of me that often gets too scared to really do what I want. I need it because sometimes I feel silly doing spontaneous things. I need it because it pushes me to become better. I just hope that she does not lose her sense of adventure as she grows up and encounters the nay-sayers of the world. I pray I don’t become one of those nay-sayers. And I hope I am a parent who sees the beauty in her drive and spirit (and Britton’s too, if that is how God has made him) and not just its potential danger.