It’s time to introduce another one of my vowel children. Today I’d like you to meet my daughter – O – a truly gifted and remarkable young woman.
Our second daughter arrived 2 years and 10 months after her big sister E. had come into this world. By now, Big D. and I had been parenting for awhile and thought we were getting pretty good at our job.
We’d had our hands full with our first vowel child – E – an exuberant and delightful moppet with a head full of blonde curls; a child who embraced the world in one of two speeds – either on or off. She was also a somewhat willful little imp whose first word was “no”. Her strong personality was not a bad thing – she was going to be one of life’s movers & shakers! Besides, it gave her dad and I an opportunity to discover what parenting was really like. If you’d like to read her story, just click HERE.
When our second child arrived, just 3 hours and 22 minutes after I went into labor, we were delighted to discover that God had blessed us with another beautiful daughter.
One hour old
We had her name all picked out, a lovely old-fashioned name that I’d heard spoken many times during my youth. It wasn’t until later that we discovered one meaning of her name – peace. We gave her the middle name – Rose – not only because she smelled so lovely, but to honor my grandmother whose namesake she shared.
When E. met her sister, the morning after she was born, I knew immediately that these two were going to have a special bond.
12 hours old
Rather than being jealous of her new sibling, E. became a little mother…doting on her baby sister with great tenderness and affection.
Well, maybe not always so tender…but definitely affectionate!
I assumed that because they had been born to the same family, had the same parents and were the same gender, these girls would have similar personalities. I thought they’d be like two peas in a pod. I couldn’t have been more wrong!
From day one, we knew that this second child was much more serene and didn’t require the stimulation that her older sister craved. In fact, it took us a couple of weeks to discover that at night time, she didn’t want to be carried around and coddled, she just wanted to be laid in her crib – wide awake – to fall asleep on her own! And for some unknown reason she always did this…
And occasionally….even this!
Though they loved to play together and got along famously, the difference in the two girl’s temperaments was very obvious.
E. was the life of the party…O. was timid, almost shy around people.
E. was strong-willed….O. was compliant.
E. was a bossy little thing…O. was demure and always acquiesced to her big sister’s wishes…
“Hey, let me cut your hair…Mom will never notice”
“Just pet it…I promise it won’t peck your eyes out!”
“There…her hair’s all done. Do you like it?”
There was never a dull moment when these two were together. Wherever E. was…O was right behind her…following in her big sister’s footsteps.
They read constantly…sometimes while half-naked!
They formed a band.
They wore pointy hair.
They even began to dress alike.
And because her big sister loved her so much, she shared everything with her.
And I do mean… everything!
Shortly after O. turned 3, it was time for her big sister to start kindergarten. Seeing as I had a degree in education, we opted to teach E. at home. In order to create the proper learning environment, we set up an elementary school room in which I taught phonics, math, science, bible & spelling. As I taught E, her younger sister O, sat nearby and colored or looked at picture books and was just a passive observer…or so I thought!
This went on for a couple of years and by the end of first grade, E was reading books on her own and writing short stories. Unbeknown to us, O. could also read…she just never let on that she knew how! It wasn’t until we were vacationing in Washington state, that we learned of her amazing ability.
We had stopped our vehicle at a railroad crossing and from the back seat of our van, we heard O. say “no stopping on tracks”. We looked up to see that there was a road sign outside her side window that read, “No Stopping On Tracks”. Needless to say, we were stunned…and delighted!
For years, I had worried that her timidity would be a stumbling block to her. Many times, when I watched her older sister surrounded by groups of friends, I would ask the Lord to give O. the confidence she lacked. What I didn’t understand, was that her temperament was completely different than her sister’s and she would one day become very confident and able. I just needed to trust Him and be patient.
According to the Character Therapist, O. was born with a classic melancholic temperament. In animal terms she has what’s known as the Beaver personality and these characteristics fit her well:
The Beaver revels in the details others despise. They are creative, practical, factual, perfectionist, detailed, orderly and predictable. Emotionally, they are sensitive–to others and about themselves. They’re thoughtful and serious, and talented. They are efficient, organized, schedule-oriented, punctual, and can be relied upon to carry out any directives or see a project through to completion. When it comes to friends, they will sacrifice greatly for those they love and care about.
Little by little, our second daughter was coming into her own. It is said that “still water runs the deepest”. If this saying has any credence, then O. would one day be an ocean! As she grew, in both age and stature, a quiet confidence began to emerge.
Age 6 – Christmas
Age 8 – camping
Age 10 – birthday
Age 13 – 1st day of school
Age 18 – Duluth
This quiet, gentle and independent spirit is something about our second daughter that has remained with her throughout her life – oft times directing her to do things on her own; many times without our prompting or even our support.
When she was about 12 years old, O. went alone, to our public library and performed in a talent show, dancing and lip-syncing and bringing home the grand prize – a $50 gift certificate. And this was after I had tried discouraging her from participating. And much to my shame, I did not even attend the show myself.
She began dabbling in photography at about the same time and has now established a small business and set up her own website – Arm’s Length Photography – winning awards for her work.
While still in grade school, O. announced to her dad & I that she wanted to become her class valedictorian and from that day on she worked toward that goal. Her years in high school were busy…so busy that she seldom had time to stop and take a breath.We worried about her and prayed daily that God would sustain her and direct her in the way she was to go.
It was with humble and grateful hearts that her dad and I watched as she received the honor of class valedictorian on June 4, 2010, fulfilling the vow she’d made to herself years before!
Deciding on a college was a big decision for her and she had many schools to choose from – some close to home and one all the way across the country. After much prayer and with conviction in her heart, she headed West and is currently a freshman at Biola University in La Mirada, California. Never one to shy away from a new adventure, she has already begun to establish herself at Biola – having entered and won a school-wide video contest before her first semester of college had even finished. Click on My Journey to view her video.
It’s hard to believe that this successful and confident young woman was once the little girl I worried so much about. And to think that she spent the first 18 months of her life planted firmly on my hip…our little barnacle baby…now detached and discovering for herself the wonderful plans that God has for her life. What a journey she’s got waiting for her!