I should have been clued in to the atmospheric changes ahead, when 45 minutes after second daughter Jemma was born, we were taking cover from not one but two tornados heading for the Newton area.
That was two years ago.
Fast-forward through some rocky sleep patterns and high-speed chases (i.e., “Jemma, no running [away] in the parking lot”), and here we are, celebrating our special girl with a tractor cake and tractor rides.
While she is a far cry from our reserved, focused oldest, Jemma is definitely living up to her name. Our “precious jewel” is friendly, outgoing and adventurous. She’s also quite determined, cuddly and caring.
Right now, she knows how to have fun, be it with rocks, sand, water, throwing magnets off the fridge or snuggling closer while reading about piggies, teapots or trucks. And I hope she will always keep her fun-loving nature. I often wish I had a little more of that trait.
But really, despite sometimes thinking Jemma has added a little too much “spice” to our lives, our family is really starting to take shape.
I think it’s amazing to watch my children learn and grow. They are shaped by outside factors, but the same thing never seems to affect either of them in quite the same way. I guess that’s due, in large part, to their individuality.
Last week, I heard an interesting numerical breakdown. It was said that the human population is 80 percent the same, 15 percent semi-unique, and 5 percent completely and utterly individual. I chalk that up to a marvelous Creator. I mean, really, how could a big bang randomly make everyone the same and yet different?
To explain a little further, 80 percent of our make-up is like the general population. We consist of mostly water. We have two eyes. Two arms. Two legs. Ten fingers and toes. You get the idea. The 15 percent deals with things like eye color, hair color, height, weight, skin color.
But the 5 percent is what really colors our world. The 5 percent is where we differ from everyone else on the planet…at least in some wonderful way.
In our family, my husband and I solve problems differently. He is very logical and technical. He likes to know the ins and outs of the how and why. (That’s why he is so great at his information technology career).
And while I, too, use logic in my decision-making, I don’t take the situation apart piece by piece. Instead, I think more large-scale, i.e., “How good/bad could it really be?”
Our daughters are also unique to our family, as indicated above. The oldest, Gracelyn, can literally spend hours working on projects: coloring, beads, painting, creating in general, while Jemma, bless her heart, is only satisfied if she’s up and running.
Those differences are the things that have potential to drive other family members crazy. And yet, I believe we are all created uniquely in order to help each other through this life. Our strengths may be someone else’s weakness. And yet, if we find common ground, we each come out ahead of where we were simply by learning from each other.
And that is what Brad and I are trying to do with our family. We are trying to teach our girls to love and serve despite differences in opinion. (And trust me, Gracelyn and Jemma often have big differences in opinion. They also share a stubborn streak. Go figure.)
We are trying to hone in on their specific skill-set so they can become well-rounded…and so they will use their strengths in positive ways, not negative, self-serving ones.
But until we have that more established, watch out for my curly-topped youngest, as her determined, adventurous spirit still hasn’t accepted that we don’t run in parking lots.