A mother's treasure is her daughter. ~Catherine Pulsifer
My beautiful Liddy Rose is twenty today. It sounds like such a long time & feels like nothing at all. This is the child everyone swore was going to be another boy ~ & whom I always knew was going to be our girl. This is the child we had always known would be named for a grandmother & a great~grandmother but who is indisputably herself, the child I'm sure my mother was starting to think would never arrive. She certainly took her time about it!
Liddy is working today but tonight we will celebrate 20 years of knowing the only perfect child on the planet. Yes, it's a joke. Liddy is my quiet & thoughtful child whose love language is *quality time*. Quality time is not always easy to come by when you live in a household as large as ours but Liddy has always fought for her fair share of attention. Ask Ditz. When Liddy came home to school with Ditz it was war! Chalk & cheese, my girls. They couldn't be more different if they tried & yet despite the odd spat when they can't stand each other they get on remarkably well together. Liddy balances Ditz's...well, ditziness...& Ditz brings Liddy out of her shell.
They have been going together to a mainland youth church. Mother is not allowed. Apparently my presence terrifies people. As I have been told that by several different people recently I am more than a tad puzzled but I know the preaching is solid & Liddy is very responsible. Everyone should have a big sister like Liddy.
Now Liddy isn't shy at all but she is slow to warm up & reserved ~ two words that just can't be applied to Ditz at all! So last night when the preacher asked for someone to list the 10 commandments Liddy started rattling them off under her breath & Ditz promptly waved her hand about madly. When asked to repeat them Ditz said blithely, 'Oh, not me, her,' & promptly dropped Liddy in the proverbial soup! I doubt Ditz would know a commandment if she fell over one but not only would Liddy have known them all, she would be able to give an entire sermon on the whole thing. Liddy's just like that.
Nothing dampened by Liddy's ire Ditz proceeded to drag her reluctant sister along to the supper being held at someone's house. The process of making friends proceeds at agonizing slowness with Liddy but Ditz has hastened the whole thing along with the sort of rampant extroversion that is engaging & catching. I'm not sure that isn't exactly why Liddy has dragged her little sister along. Our Ditz is a wonderful ice~breaker!
There are stories that go into the family mythology to be told over & over again: at birthdays, at graduations, at weddings & funerals. Liddy was the first of our children born on the island. We tell of how she was overdue, my poor anxious mother who had come down to help getting more & more agitated as the days passed & no Liddy. Each evening as the day cooled we would set of with all the children for a walk around the block. I wouldn't get as far as the corner before the contractions began & I turned back. All evening the contractions would continue until we got to the 10 minute apart stage & they would just stop. Given once I was off the island there was no getting back on again until the first boat of the following morning I was in no hurry to go anywhere unless I was absolutely sure this baby was on the way!
We'd been in our house barely a fortnight & didn't even have all our floors down yet so that final evening when I gave up in disgust I went to bed. And I went to sleep. Dearest swears black & blue that I was still in labour. He is probably right because somewhere around 11ish my waters broke & pandemonium broke out in our house. I was insistent I wanted a shower. Dearest couldn't wait to get me off the island & had promptly shot off to call out the boat. The skippers, who have seen more than their fair share of babies born at sea, make no bones about getting a labouring woman to the mainland as fast as possible; the half hour trip took just 10 minutes! And Liddy, having decided she was on her way, got a move on. I think the whole circus took a bare 2 hours.
By the time we got to the hospital I was well established in labour & promptly crawled into the nearest shower where I stayed until I was ready to push. Having delivered Liddy I handed her over to her father & crawled back into the shower. This is the only time in her first 3 years of life that Liddy willingly allowed her father to cuddle her. Mostly she screamed blue murder at him. Funny that because she wasn't a crying baby. In fact she rarely cried for anything.
She slept through the night from the day we brought her home, starfished in the big cot beside my bed. As the only girl she learnt to ply her charms early & enjoyed her status as Queen Bee. My mother, for whom she is named, was delighted with her first grand~daughter & they are frighteningly alike! I was charmed. This was not the sort of baby I had grown used to. Liddy has always had some rather strange quirks.
After so many boys I really wanted a girl. Now don't get me wrong. I adore my boys but I always wanted a mixed brood. Families of just one gender always strike me as a little unbalanced so I chatted to the Lord about it while I was soaping up in the shower & I rather vaguely mentioned I wanted this unborn, unconcieved future little girl to be His. In my vague violet way who knows what I actually meant by that but God has a way of taking our vagueities & doing something very practical with them.
I've talked before about our bedtime ritual & how it could go on for hours ~ literally ~ because we all loved story time & young as she was Liddy was cuddled snugly in my lap as I read my way through the boys' books & when we were done I'd hug them goodnight with a little prayer ~ a very little prayer. At the end of a long day that wasn't finished yet I just didn't have the mental resources to pray anything long & fancy. Liddy, being the baby, was last into her cot & I would snuggle her blankets around her & hand her her cuddly toy before turning out the light. That's what I had done every day of her young life but this night Liddy cried. Now Liddy almost never cried so crying meant serious business. I was horrified & promptly went looking for unpinned nappy pins but they were all securely done up. I checked for wetness but she was clean & dry in a fresh nappy. She wasn't hungry or thirsty or too hot or too cold. She didn't have wind. She didn't seem to need to be held & rocked. I was puzzled but nothing seemed to soothe her & her crying seemed more that of pure frustration than anything else. She was very little, too little by far to verbalise what she wanted. In desperation I prayed the same little prayer for her that I prayed over her brothers. Liddy's tears dried like magic. She gave a contented sigh, rolled over & promptly went to sleep.
Liddy taught me that even little, little children are spiritually aware & that God often honours His promises earlier than we expect. It has been a joy & a delight to watch Liddy mature into the godly young woman she is today & see the calling on her life confirmed. We are so blessed to have had her in our lives.