Thursday, January 12, 2012

She Makes Us Proud

Abby and her cousin Tyler at age 4.
Our daughter just recently celebrated her 16th birthday. In recognition of her becoming "Sweet 16" , I would like to honor our special girl with a few thoughts.  Abby was born with her eyes wide open to the world. Ever since day one, she has been alert and bright. Shortly after her birth,  someone told me she was an "old soul". I am not sure I believe in such things, but she has always had eyes that could tell a story. As they say, eyes are the window to the soul. 

Abby has a kind heart. She is sweet and affectionate. This is the quality I most love about her.  As a small child, she never questioned me about people with disabilities. She seemed to be attracted to them as though she had some understanding of the joy her sweet little face would bring to them in the moment. One of my fondest memories is a day our family was visiting my grandfather. His second wife had a stroke that left her very debilitated. She was non-verbal and lacked control of her facial expressions. Most children would shy away from her, but not Abby, she spent the afternoon sitting on her lap. This brought happiness to both of them and it warmed my heart. 
After the death of my mother in 2000, it was my 4 year old daughter that brought me peace on so many occasions. She caught me crying one morning at the kitchen table. I tried to cover it up, but she climbed up in my lap and told me I should not be sad. Meme (my mom) is with me all the time now. In my heart. In her own way she was wise way beyond her years. I have always believed that my mother lives on through me. I believe my life path has taken its shape, partially as a result of my mother's unexpected death. Abby knew that then and reminded me to allow her to live on within and through me.
On another occasion, during the same time in our lives, Abby and I were standing in our driveway in South Carolina when she asked, "Momma, what does a soul look like?" I was taken aback by such a deep question coming from a 4 year old child. I paused but finally answered, "I suppose it looks like the body it was once in...." What could I say?  I thought she needed something she could wrap her little brain around. Nope. She proved me wrong again. She went on to say, "No, Momma (in her little southern accent), I know what a soul looks like." Then she proceeded to take her little finger, stretched to the sky and she drew an imaginary line down toward the ground. She then lifted her hand up, but not quite as high and to the left drawing an imaginary horizontal line that crossed through the long vertical line. I was awe-struck. She drew a cross. She was telling me a soul looks like or perhaps resembles Jesus. Amazing.

As she has grown, she has continued to amaze me with her ability to steer away from the normal teenage drama. She is loved by all her peers, but she chooses not to get involved in the petty behaviors in which most kids find themselves.  She is poised and polite in the proper settings. She is a leader, not a follower.  We do butt heads quite a bit because she inherited the independent and somewhat stubborn qualities of her mother.  She is lovely, however, despite her occasional outbursts. She is simply following her passion for independence and determination prove her abilities to make everything work...but on her own terms. It is what drives me crazy the most about her, but it is also what I am most proud of. She is a young lady with a future. Whatever she chooses, she undoubtedly will succeed. She is Abby. She is wonderful and she makes me proud to be her Mom.


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