Thursday, December 19, 2013

From Skyler, with care: who my daughter is

I overheard this conversation in the beginning of December:

Skyler: "Reed, what is the best part of Christmas, giving or receiving?"
Reed:  "Giving?"
Skyler:  "CORRECT."

Anyone who knows Skyler knows what a generous little soul she is, and how she prides herself in taking care of others.  Even as a little kid, our friends would come over to play, and Skyler would send each child home with one of her toys or stuffed animals.  She would insist that everyone take something home.

Skyler just seems to have a deep and real understanding that she's lucky, and she feels a sense of duty to make other people feel lucky and cared for too. She actually finds joy in helping and giving in a way that belies her age.   I think I'm a pretty nice person and all, but I can't take credit for this side of Skyler.  Generosity is not something anyone taught her;  it is who she is.

Skyler, this year, made and wrapped presents for all of her friends and family without any help from us, nor any knowledge of it happening.  I knew she was busy doing something in her room, but I was surprised when I found a whole pile of presents up there, all tied with bows and labeled with to-from notes.  But that wasn't enough, she wanted to buy some presents too.

Side bar:

We use a system of marbles for rewarding good behavior at our house, and the kids each have a marble jar.  The marble system is actually sort of complicated and it has taken on a life of its own in our house.  You can earn a marble for eating a good dinner, getting everything done in the morning without nagging, making your bed, or just being "caught" doing something extra nice or good.  You can lose a marble for various infractions too, and so some days marbles are going in and out of the jars in a very complex formula.  The kids can trade in their marbles for things like movies, a new book, a new toy.

Skyler earns a lot of marbles and loses few, and so as of yesterday, she had 117 marbles in her jar.  As a contrast, Reed has about 12 because he loses one every time he leaves his jacket in the middle of the floor, which is most days.  He also loses one for jumping on the couch or driving me crazy.  I sometimes say:  "You are going to lose your marbles" and what I mean is, that I, in fact, am losing mine.


Skyler shopped for Christmas presents at our favorite store the Rock and Art Shop, and used up most of her hard-earned marbles.  It was just the two of us, and she took her time thinking, weighing possibilities, and then deliberately selecting presents for her family, really nice things that will have use as well as meaning.  Watching her in action just about killed me.
She made sure each gift was boxed carefully and then carried them all home to wrap.  This cost her 82 marbles, which she dutifully counted and emptied out of her jar when we got home.

But she was not done.  Earlier in the month, she asked if we could do something nice for people that might not have as much as we do.  We discussed some options and decided on baking a lot of cookies because cookies make everyone happy, and after much deliberation, she decided on the Ronald McDonald House and the firefighters of Bangor as the recipients.  The Ronald McDonald House is a home-away-from-home for families of sick children on extended stays in the hospital.  These people, Skyler decided, probably could use some extra Christmas cheer.  And bringing cookies to the firefighters just seemed like a nice thing to do. 

Reed helped, but this operation was driven by Skyler.  When Reed was exhausted and lying on the floor, Skyler was still carefully decorating piles of cookies.

hey guys, you got a little bit of flour on your shirts.

Several batches later, we had a nice collection.

On the cards, she wrote:

And we carried them off for delivery. I told her we could deliver them without Reed, and at first she was excited at that thought.  But it seemed to weigh on her, and so she asked that we wait to do the fire station trip until Reed could be with us.

The reaction of the staff was perfect.  They made an appropriate fuss about how kind she was to think of these families, and how delicious and beautiful her cookies looked.

And they asked her to come into the office and give her name and address so that she could be properly thanked.

Later on, we went to the fire station.  Again, the reaction was perfect. 
 Not only did the firefighters gush about the cookies, they invited us in for an extensive tour and let the kids climb up and sit on everything.
They radioed upstairs and asked some men to drop down the fireman pole to meet "the kids who brought them cookies."  What a thrill.
"You made us cookies?  YOU ARE THE BEST"  they said.

Yesterday, I also took Skyler to the eye doctor as she had been complaining about headaches and not being able to read the board at school.  Her near-sightedness was confirmed, and we went to pick out some glasses.  Another thing I adore about Skyler:  She is very decisive and knows exactly what she wants.  Within the first two minutes, she said:  "These are the ones I want.   I am sure."

Oh, my girl. 

On the way home last night, thinking back on her day, about the people at the Ronald McDonald house, the people at the doctor's office, the people at the glasses store, and the firemen and, she said:  "Everyone was so nice to me today."   You reap what you sow, honey.  You reap what you sow.

What a joy to share my life with this little person.   I cannot wait for Christmas morning for a million reasons, but one of them is that I'm excited to give Skyler some nice gifts I know she will love.

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” ~ Arthur Ashe


Carrie said...

Love it...and I am in tears. What a special little girl. <3

MsDavis said...

Tears ... I have some as I sit here and wonder at the fact that there are kind little people who will one day take over our world and take care of us. All hope is not lost.

ann said...

Just beautiful, Emilie! Give them both hugs from us!

Rowgirl08 said...

Can she pick out my new glasses when I go get them next year? The girl is not only beautiful inside and out, but she's got skills picking out eyewear!

I do not.

Enjoy every moment with those two. And thanks for sharing Skyler's gifts and joy with us. VT hugs.

Emily Nathan said...

That is so sweet. What a lovely lady she is becoming Emilie!