I overheard this conversation in the beginning of December:
Skyler: "Reed, what is the best part of Christmas, giving or receiving?"
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.
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.
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.
And they asked her to come into the office and give her name and address so that she could be properly thanked.
|"You made us cookies? YOU ARE THE BEST" they said.|
|Oh, my girl.|