Sophie loves animals. She thinks about them, plays imaginary games pretending she is an animal, and she wants to have a ranch with horses when she grows up.
I was infatuated with horses when I was a girl, although I hardly had a chance to ride them. Still, I read all of the horse books in our library and learned everything I could about taking care of horses.
In so many ways, Sophie reminds me of myself. I wonder if this happens to other parents. I understand Sophie in a way that I don’t really understand the emotions of my other kids or even my husband. I empathize with the others and I actually think I have more patience with them than they sometimes have with each other because I don’t have the same emotional make-up. But Sophie I understand.
Sometimes, that means I’m harder on her when she gets stubborn, because on certain things (when I really think I’m right) I can’t be moved either. However, for the most part, I just appreciate Sophie because her personality is subtle and not everyone sees her depth. She is always thinking about how she can please other people and do something for them. When she isn’t playing with Mollie, she is usually in the craft room making a card for someone or creating a scrapbook. She loves to cook with me and do crafts. “Mom, I feel like doing a craft with you today,” she’ll say.
She is very creative and imaginative, but not in a showy way like Mollie. For instance, last week, Sophie came up with an idea to make a swing out of a jump rope and a PVC pipe. She climbed up a tree and managed to tie the swing up. The design is simple and rather ingenious. It also works and Steffi has been in heaven having a swing in the yard. Sophie has too, although her overly long body has made swinging a somewhat more hazardous operation for her than for Steffi. We’ve used up plenty of band-aids.
One thing I do not share with Sophie is her beauty. I’m not sure what it is, but there is something about her appearance that makes people feel they need to comment about it. She has grown up having strangers comment on her hair, her eyes and her face. It happens so often that we have tended to deflect it somewhat, especially when Sophie is noticed and Mollie is not (strangely enough, Asian and Hispanic people seem particularly drawn to Sophie!).
Now that she is seven, I’ve started to talk with Sophie about this attention. I want her to know that it is all right to be pretty and to be glad about your curly hair, but that the most important parts of her are her intelligence, her kindness and her generous spirit. Indeed, even Sophie may not make it through puberty and still be considered a beauty. In fact, eventually age wears on all beauty. Yet the beauty of the heart is eternal, a gentle and quiet spirit, humble and submissive to serve others. Dear Lord, Give Sophie such a spirit.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” 1 Timothy 6:6 and 11