Friday, October 21, 2011

Wanted: One Sister Penguin

My smallest shadow doesn't want to go outdoors. It's too cold. It's too hot. It's too windy and messes up her hair. She wants to be inside with me...folding laundry? Really?

And so Amelia feeds her dolls, fills Noah's Ark with Little People, makes her "paper girls" say their mealtime prayers, brings me tea, or simply follows me around chattering and singing. Other times, she sits in the school room and flips through book after book, looking at the pictures and sometimes reading aloud whatever words she's memorized.

Even when she brings me books to read, if she's not an audience of one, she still sits mostly to the side, quietly flipping through another book in the stack while I read aloud another to the boys.

Oh, and did I mention that her every little injury is worthy of a torrential flood of tears, not to be quenched by Boo Boo?On our trip last week, I watched her interact with four little girls. It was so different.

She sat on the floor in a ring of four sisters and just smiled as each gave her their dress shoes to try on. None of them said too much as they played together. And there was definitely no sword-wielding, dragon-chasing, monster-finding, dirt-throwing physical games like her brothers dream up. Just lots of whispering and grinning.

As I watched , my heart ached for her to have the near impossible--a sister of her own to share secrets with, to play with this way using her God-given maternal instincts versus having to be "one of the boys" when interacting with her rambunctious brothers.

But perhaps the ache I feel is not for her alone. Perhaps it is mine as well because I always wanted a sister, too. In high school, I had a friend who was as close as one, but somehow with marriage children, and a country between us, that sisterhood stretched too thin, leaving the gaping chamber empty.

One glance at Amelia's face and mine in the mirror is all it takes to see myself in a smaller vessel. I know how lonely it can be without that female sister-friend to call daily just to chat a few minutes, to share a laugh with. I find it so difficult to make friendships deep with other women who are just as busy raising a family as I am. I don't want that for her.

For now, though, perhaps forever, I will be her mother, her sister, her friend, helping to cultivate what she loves. Now, that's not too hard.

I let her wear my old childhood dresses as she plays barefoot around the house.Take her to fairy parties at the library so she can soar in knee-high covered coat hangers (uh..."wings") and eat icing-laden butterfly cookies.
Put on that $2 thrift store Princess Belle dress for the thousandth time. I know one day she'll be a teenager and will need someone besides me to confide in. But maybe God will somehow send a sister friend whose heart will knit with hers like a penguin--for life.


  1. If that isn't one sweet picture of a sad little girl... That you notice this, make yourself available for her... What a tender, open mama-heart.

  2. Lyla--I feel most inadequate as a mother with her. The boys are independent like me, something I know how to do. But her? I struggle.

  3. I had sisters and while I dearly love them, I am closer to my girl friends. We just walk different paths. I have a girl and a boy. My daughter is very independent and my son is very dependent. It's a personality factor not necessarily gender. You are likely a great mother to her because you are honest about your struggle and eager to improve. Kellie

  4. Thanks Kellie. Good to know there are women who have found the close girlfriends out there.