“bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
~ I Corinthians 13:7 NKJV ~
Emma is the middle child, the quiet one, and the one that demands the least from the world around her. She enjoys her time alone, sleeping in late – which at our house means 7 am instead of 5:30 – and unlike Cole and Cadence, she has no natural ability to gauge how much candy is too much. If left to her own devices, she will double-fist any sugary treats within reach until she vomits, literally.
Emma would rather ride in the truck than the van. She prefers to wear her cowboy boots, enjoys working with tools, and the dirtier she can get, the better. There is no limit to how much lips gloss she can go through in a day and loves getting her finger nails painted only to scrape them off within a day so they need painting again. She is also the one least afraid to tell the truth, no matter how egregious her offense, and she accepts her punishment stoically, as if nothing could affect her. If Emma is crying, it’s most likely because of an injustice, or an aching heart because she misses someone or she heard a song that touched her heart.
At six years old, she is a deep thinker, very determined, fiercely loyal, courteous, and unselfish. She is a less demanding child that can easily get lost in the persistent chaos of others wanting this, that and more. Emma needs more one-on-one time than the others, so we went on a date this week.
As always on date-with-dad-day, she got to pick the activity. We talked about it and her answer revealed the planning she had already done. The deepest desire of her heart was shopping at the dollar store for toys she could give to Cole and Cadence.
I pulled rank and asked her to consider getting something to eat together. I wanted to visit with her and despite being so quiet around others; she talks incessantly when we go on dates. She thought wings would be the perfect snack and pink lemonade would be the perfect drink to wash it all down. It was her choice, and so wings it was.
Waiting is not her strong suit, so I distracted her with some questions. That opened the floodgates. We talked about Jesus, ranch dressing, the difference between yellow and pink lemonade, a boy at church with bad manners, flying kites, and a host of other pressing matters. When the wings were ready, we prayed, and she silently tore into them with a passion.
We found slime at the dollar store and the excitement of heading home to share her treasure with her brother and sister was too great. The date was over. She asked if there was a shortcut home and when I came up empty-handed; she simply asked again, expecting that I put more effort into finding one. We settled on me driving a little faster than normal, which is always less than the speed limit when I have kids on board.
She was so thrilled to bless them with their gifts when we finally got home. It reminded me of how important family is, but also how important spending time with each individual in our family is. Time and my attention are what they want and it makes them feel important and loved. A goal much harder to accomplish in a crowd.
And so dates will be a priority now, and making them feel important, valued and loved, not just entertained and provided for.
That time together will strengthen a foundation in each of them and teach them things a million speeches, counseling sessions, and self-help books never will.