About 14 years ago, I was hoping that my older daughter, Alyssa, would soon have a younger sibling to keep her company. By July of 1998 it looked like the arrival of Delayna may have been something that my older daughter wanted to send back for a refund.
Thankfully, we kept her, because quite frankly even before she was born she was a pleasure to be around. She was pretty laid back, never made much of a racket, and was really sweet to all the older ladies I knew who wished they could have little girls again. Several people suggested that Delayna wasn't a typical baby. I do believe that if everyone had a kid like Delayna, there would be more kids in the world.
Delayna has grown up with an older sister, and two younger brothers. She also has an older step-sister who lives outside the home, so she is quite specifically “the middle child”. I think she fits into her role very well. Delayna is a very creative person, she likes to doodle and draw. I often wish she would keep her drawings on paper, but we frequently see evidence of her creativity on her shoes, her pants, her brothers, and her own body parts.
Delayna is intelligent. She writes well, spells very properly and is sometimes caught editing the spelling or grammar of full grown adults. She is a great reader, who has been known to plow through full sized novels in a day or two, and not just once, but twice for good measure.
Delayna is crafty and has a good eye for color. She enjoys doing beadwork, and sometimes I can even convince her to help me with a quilt. She put together her first quilt in elementary school, and it actually helped inspire me to start sewing for myself.
Delayna is thorough. She is the only one in our household who will get sent to do the dishes, and will actually do them. I'm not saying that she's rejoicing the entire time, but she does her work and she stays on track. I can usually count on her to get her work, whether it's work at home or work from school, finished by herself. She needs very little direction or correction, and I appreciate that about her a lot.
Delayna is also very social and very different. She doesn't go very long without communicating in some fashion with her best friends. She puts a high value on friendships, and she doesn't feel very well when her friends are having disagreements. She is different in that she is willing to wear something that other people might find completely crazy, and she is totally ok with it. She loves to wear makeup and try out new things, and unless it's something completely inappropriate, we give her a moderate amount of free rein to be herself.
Even though on the outside she doesn't seem to care about what other people think, “sensitive” is another term that comes to mind when I think about Delayna. She is easily hurt whenever she has been offended or if she is being corrected in a way that is construed as even the tiniest bit harsh. I often have to mind my words when I am speaking to her, because I don't want to bruise her delicate feelings, or say something that might be considered hurtful when it is not intended to be. Thankfully, Delayna is also pretty quick to forgive others. This comes in handy because she lives in a larger family and it's easy to accidentally step on people's feelings sometimes.
I would also describe Delayna as trustworthy and loyal. She doesn't give up on people too easily, and she is good at giving people second chances. She has a strong work ethic, and when our family is going through tough times, she willingly works to earn income for the things she wants. She is good at saving money too. She did a tremendous job as a daycare assistant over the past summer, and she works exceptionally well with small children, but unfortunately she is sometimes so good that her time is in high demand. Sometimes we have to put limits on her so that she doesn't find herself overwhelmed with all that's going on in her life.
Patient and trusting are more characteristics of my daughter. Since the second grade, she's endured eight different surgeries having to do with her ears in some way. She has grown to accept that some things just happen to some people, and we've got to roll with the punches. She doesn't hear all that well, as she only has one hearing bone left in one of her ears now, but she has adapted beautifully in order to not draw attention to herself. I sometimes think that she and I could have conversations with no sound because we've become so good at reading each others lips. This can be a problem in school though, because not everyone is aware of her issue, and occasionally she appears to be ignoring someone when in fact she just isn't hearing them or can't see that they are speaking.
Overall, I enjoy being Delayna's Mom. I hope that in some way, through all the stuff she's been through in her life, she will grow up to be a much better person than myself.