Monday, July 25, 2011
I've decided that a good analogy for a nine year old girl is the board game Risk. Let me explain...
For six weeks of the summer, Zoya is going to a day camp where she gets to swim and do crafts and go on field trips.
Every day she battles mean girls and mosquitoes. Some days she conquers small worlds of kid clicks and places her signet ring stamp on new territories, marking parts of the park like the terrain of a giant Risk board. Other days, she chooses to sit quietly to the side and eat a small bag of Doritos instead.
I love this about my daughter. She has boundaries.
Growing up is difficult. I worry about my girls. "Mom, she doesn't like me!" "Mom, that boy said I have chicken legs." "She told the other girls not to talk to me."
So far, though, Zoya is maturing with ease. She's a kid with imagination and boundaries. If a few girls are fighting around her, she simply removes herself. I didn't figure out how to navigate hard situations like that til' at least my late twenties.
If you were to meet Zoya for the first time, you may find her quiet. Her heart seems to wear a hard hat. But don't worry. It pumps steadily underneath its protective cover. It pumps compassion and street smarts. It pumps adventure and loyalty.
When we switched around rooms upstairs, Zoya got her own room and was able to pick a few new decorations to make it distinctly Zo. She chose a travel theme, and has a picture of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a constellations map, and stickers showcasing New York City and London. She has taped a piece of paper onto the wall, a list of ten places in the world she wants to visit when she grows up. A few places noted: Madagascar, The North Pole, Australia.
"Mom, don't tell Papa I asked you because I already talked to him about this three times and he said that I need to stop asking, that we would wait and see, but, will you buy me a ticket to Paris when I graduate from high school?"
Zoya is growing in her relationship with God. Almost every night we, as a family, read a passage from the Bible and talk about it. We say a few prayers. Zoya's comprehension of the stories has really grown. Last year around this time, we'd have to remind her to pay attention and quiz her afterword to ensure she wasn't busy focusing on something else (like a piece of string) during our family time. But this year, after the story is read, she provides great summaries. She answers questions in light of Jesus.
Zoya is not the nine year old poster child. She's a tad lazy, and will quietly get out of chores by slipping up to her room to read or make packing lists for future adventures. If there is only one Popsicle left in the freezer, she'd take it for herself in a second. But I am having a great time parenting her. I learn about resilience and quiet contentment from Zoya. She teaches me that I have the power to simply remove myself from hard places. And my imagination has grown by leaps and bounds from her proximity.