Friday, April 03, 2009

A Sweet Heart

There is a sweetness to Rylee that I do not see in Sadie. That is not to say that Sadie is not sweet; she is -- very -- at times. But, I think that Sadie's sweetness is more typical of a child her age than is Rylee's. If Sadie is drawing pictures, she will draw me a picture. If Sadie is making up a song, a lyric or two will be about how much she loves me or her dad. If Sadie just heard about orphans in Africa at chapel in school, she will come home demanding that we adopt one. She has a consciousness about others only to the point where it aligns with whatever she is doing already. But, Rylee is different -- special, if you will -- when it comes to that particular awareness of others' needs and desires. The Stool Incident illustrates my point.

(By the way, Rylee is two and a half (almost). I watch her part-time as a nanny/babysitter/friend/playmate. I have known her since she was three months old.)

One day, when Rylee was at our house be-bopping around, I happened to look up at the window in Sadie's room. I had tacked up purple lights around the window frame two years ago, which gives the room a magical glow in the evenings. Last Christmas, Sadie had received from her grandparents a "make your own sign" kit, which she used to make a sign that said, "Sadie's Room." I had hastily hung this up on one of the tacks on her window's frame in December, as close the the middle as I could get without moving the tacks. Of course, it was asymmetrical, which annoyed me whenever I looked up at it.

That day, it finally annoyed me enough that I decided to move the tack over to dead center at the top of the window frame; thus, appeasing the type-A-er within. So, I stood on my tippy toes and pulled out the off-center tack. Still on my toes, stretched to the limits of my height and arm span, I tried to put the tack back into the wood in the middle -- over about 2 inches from its original position. I was too short to gain much leverage, so I could not get the tack into the stubborn frame. I strained and grunted and pushed away.

All of a sudden, I heard a scraping sound behind me. I turned to look, and there was Rylee -- pushing in toward me the stepstool from the bathroom. She pushed it right up under the window and patted the top step, looking at me encouragingly. Not a word had passed between us. Wow.

I climbed up and pushed the tack right in, readjusted the lights and hung the room sign. Then, I sat down and marveled at Rylee. What an amazing thing for a not-quite-two-and-a-half year old to do! If I had asked for the stool, she would surely have brought it; but for her to watch my pathetic and futile effort, see that I had a problem, find a solution to the problem, and enact that solution . . . well, that astounded me.

I can guarantee that if it had been Sadie watching me struggle with the tack, she would never have taken it upon herself to help me in such a way. She maybe would have said, "Why don't you go get a stepstool, Mom?" but she would never have just brought me the tool I needed without any prompting. I do not know any other child of Sadie's age (6) or younger who thinks that way. You see why I find Rylee so amazing.

Her sweetness of heart is manifested in many other ways. If she and Sadie are having snacks in Sadie's room and Rylee comes out for a drink, she always insists that I give her a drink to take back for Sadie. If I buy her a treat while we are out and about, she makes sure that she picks out one for me to buy for Sadie, as well. If she is eating, she never fails to make certain that I have a bite to eat, too. She is a thoughtful, generous, sweet soul.

So, I pray for her that she is always able to keep this gift of a servant's heart with which she was born. I pray that the world will not rob her of it by exploiting her or coarsening her. I pray that she will not be hurt, as too many who give so wholly and lovingly are. I pray for her because she is sweet, and this world is too bitter a place.