Ever since her arrival here on earth, my daughter has been someone I admired. Does that seem odd? Even when she was a baby, I felt like I had so much to learn from her sweet spirit. I always thought it was as if our roles had been reversed. The smaller soul had given birth to the greater soul. As soon as she could talk and walk, that impression just felt stronger.
Sierra wants to be in the thick of life, jostling herself into position to be ready for anything that comes her way. She is the middle child, the only daughter. Our Sierra Sandwich, between two brothers who adore her. Nothing keeps her down for long. I can remember one day when she was just about counter height, she was running through the kitchen, and nailed the countertop with her forehead. I braced myself for a meltdown, having been trained well by the older brother. Nope, not this girl. She stopped, stunned for a moment, rubbed her head, and kept on running.
My little girl has always enjoyed dressing up. She was the most dainty, feminine little thing I'd ever known. Having grown up as the ultimate tomboy, I was never quite sure how to take this creature who loved dresses, patent leather, and frilly socks from the get-go. She wore a dress every single day from the time she was old enough to express an opinion, which was pretty early. If she wore shorts or jeans, it was always under duress. Even when she got a horse as a gift from a family friend, she would pull on jeans, under her dress, to ride the horse, and shed the jeans just inside the back door when she was done.
When she was about three years old, there was an afternoon I recall with some fondness. The rain had subsided, and her brother was heading off to meet friends to play. "I want to play outside with the boys." I just looked at her standing there in her dressy outfit.
"If you go outside, you have to wear PLAY clothes. I don't want you to ruin your dress." Her eyes lit up, and she made a bee-line for her room. She came out several minutes later, ready to play. I just laughed. There she was, in all of her glory, decked out in her leotard, pink tutu, and little leather ballet flats. It took some convincing, but she finally found something suitable, and joined the boys to enjoy the puddles and mud.
Although Sierra has always been so very pretty, I never wanted that to go to her head. "Put her in the beauty pageant," friends suggested. There are plenty of things she could have learned from those experiences, but I wanted her to grow up with a self-esteem built on her inward beauty, not her outward appearance. I just wanted her to realize it's what's on the inside that really counts. She has never let me down.
For a brief period of time, Sierra worked at the care center in food services. It was easy for her to
Sierra loves to make people laugh with her slapstick comedy. Most of my pictures of her are silly because she never takes herself too seriously. I'm realizing there are limits with what she is comfortable doing. She will do almost anything for a laugh, unless she thinks it could be misunderstood as illegal or socially unacceptable. She will pull faces, and strike funny poses, but I'm learning that I cause her great anxiety if I ask certain favors.
The last time we were together in Denver, I wanted to take a picture of her inside the pumpkin crate at Whole Foods. She was panic-stricken. "I could get in trouble."
"What? Who cares if you get in with the pumpkins? You're not hurting anything. Come on! It will be fun!"
Bless her heart, she climbed into the pumpkins, managed a quick smile, and quickly jumped back out to safety. When we noticed the policeman sitting just inside the door of the eating area, I think both of our hearts skipped a beat. What's the worst that could have happened? Someone MIGHT have asked us not to do that any more. Okay...we were done anyway! Until NEXT year...
Earlier, she and I had gone to Target, and the security guard's segway caught my eye. "Hey, Sierra, take my picture riding the segway!" I jumped on the two-wheeled vehicle. The look in her eyes said it all.
"Mom, DON'T! You could get in trouble!"
"Look at me! I'm a mall cop!" I joked, "revving" the engine.
She took my picture, but not without great stress. Poor thing. I don't think it was until this particular weekend that I realized just what a good girl I have. She doesn't even want to APPEAR to be doing something naughty. Bless her precious heart.
I love this girl. I will always love her for loving me unconditionally, and forgiving me my sins of omission and commission as a mother. Happy Birthday, Sweetie! You are one of life's biggest gifts to me!