Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Million Words or Less

We got an assignment. By we, I mean the parents at this house got an assignment last week. The title simply said, "In a million words or less, tell me about your child". Simple right? Well, it's been a long time since I've had to write an essay, and an even longer time since my husband has had to, so naturally, the task of completing the assignment has fallen to me. Plus, I write, he scribbles. Just sayin....

So, I'll be sharing, in one million words or less, about my children. I may stop at one, I may go for four, only time will tell. You may wish to unsubscribe for a week. I'll commence talking about all things I'm not proud of at some time in my future. But for today - my girl Alyssa...

About 16 years ago, I found out I was expecting my firstborn child. I felt excited and happy, because I knew she would change my world. Alyssa has quite the personality. She has made me sick, she has made me worry, she has made me stop what I was doing and take notice, and she even got me to quit thinking so much about myself and start thinking more about others. All that happened before she was even born. I can certainly say that things haven't changed one bit since she actually entered the world.
The first thing I think about when I find my thoughts resting on Alyssa, is that her personality is one of a kind. She marches to the beat of a different drummer. She was speaking in full sentences before she could walk. She was the most polite kid in the church nursery when she was little. She was the kid who wore the eye patch in preschool. She was the one who had to get tested for ADD in Elementary school, and she was the one who decided to tackle several sports in Middle School even when it hurt like heck. She is also the kid who is intensely appreciative of music, both in listening and performing. She takes her music seriously, and is usually the first to show me something new that she just discovered, or share something old that she thinks we might appreciate (or not!). But all along the way, she's always been the one who didn't really care much what other people thought of her, and she's also not very accepting of drama or conflict – unless someone is messing with a member of her family, then you'd better watch out.

Alyssa doesn't fit into any mold. She refuses to blend in with the crowd, or go along with what the media says that teens should be like, look like, or act like. She is a genuinely happy person, with a large amount of respect for people that care about others. She has a deep personal faith. She is quick to apologize when she's done something out of line. She doesn't cry when her feelings get hurt, or when someone injures her, but she cries at the sight of a baby chick or a cute fluffy kitten. She's very sentimental, and judging by the condition of her bedroom at any given time, it's quite clear that she has a hard time parting with things that mean a lot to her.

Alyssa's Dad left us when she was barely three years old. She and he were extremely close, and although his leaving didn't seem to make any big changes in her world at the time, it took several years for us to notice that him being gone left a deep impression on her perception of the people in her life. She often has a hard time trusting that people will follow through with what they say they will do, and that they have her best intentions at heart.

Alyssa is a helper. She's prefers to spend all her summers working in a kitchen at a church camp rather than lounging at the beach. She is great about taking responsibility for many of the animals on our hobby farm, and she's a leader for the younger kids in our 4H group. She takes pride in her work, but I find that she spends a great deal of time worrying about whether or not she's on track and if she's even going to survive High School. She is a good student when she is able to focus, but often times her mind goes to other things and she gets highly disappointed in herself and has occasional meltdowns. I'm familiar with that though, because I've been known to do that a time or two.

Alyssa responds well to praise, and she thrives on direct communication. Often she is not the one to initiate the communication, so sometimes she misses out on things because of her hesitation to approach people. I have found that this is getting easier for her as her confidence in herself has improved, and I'm pleased to see her growing in this way. Alyssa gets a lot of support from home. She's encouraged to try new things in order to find out where she wants to go in life. On the other hand, she's also pressured, maybe too much sometimes, to be responsible for herself and her actions. Natural consequences is a phrase that is heard a lot around here. Alyssa gets very discouraged at her failures, but in our home, failures are also considered a success. It means that somewhere along the road she has learned what doesn't work and can try a different approach the next time around.

Alyssa has an older step-sister that she doesn't see very much, and three younger siblings, a sister and 2 brothers, who all live in our home. They each admire her, and the younger kids all look up to her – even though you won't hear them admitting it very frequently. She often has disagreements with them, but usually it's because she forgets that she was a little kid once too. The word “annoying” is probably her most-used term when she refers to them, and I think that it means her younger brothers are doing a good job of being brothers. I believe that Alyssa is a pretty decent example of what an older sibling should be like, and she does a good job of holding down the fort when the parents are gone. I'm proud of my daughter, and all the things she's gotten through in her young life so far. All in all, I love being Alyssa's Mom!

1 comment:

Katie said...

Oiy! This made my cry. It was a smack in the face as to how fast the last 16yrs has flown by.

Beautifully written Lex.