"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Blonde With Beauty and Brains

She looked just like an American Indian baby with spiky jet black hair. If I hadn’t just watched her come out of the birth canal, I might have doubted she was mine. Yet, as the years have progressed, 18 of them today to be exact, she has proven to be exactly my child. With inherited “blond” genetics from her mother and a genuine sweetness straight from her great-grandmother, Alexandra Jae’s traits corroborate her membership in this family.
As a baby, Alix oozed perfection. She slept through the night at five weeks, snoozed until mid-morning and hardly ever squalled—probably because she found her thumb when she was weeks old. Alix radiated contentment with each stage of life. Satisfied with crawling and being carried until 15 months old, she wasn’t in a hurry to walk or run anywhere. She’d rather nurse than drink formula from a bottle and transferred straight to a cup when she was a year old.
Despite her angelic infancy, Alix could be as stubborn as a mule. She refused baby food, thumbed her nose at the bottle and rejected walking until she chose to! If she set her mind on something, no amount of persuasion, prodding or poking could get her to budge. When Alix was five, Tony attempted to help her put tights on for church. She collapsed onto the floor, crying, absolutely refusing assistance. She would do it herself! As a toddler and young elementary student, Alix snubbed strangers, relying on her big brother, Nick, to carry the conversation.
Stranger: “Hi, what’s your name?”
Alix sticks her thumb in her mouth and looks up at Nick.
Nick: “Her name is Alix.”
Stranger: “How old are you?”
Alix voraciously sucks, still gazing at Nick.
Nick: “She’s 4.”
Alix warmed up to people like a slow cooker. Nick spoke for her, like Aaron for Moses. Quiet natured, Alix is still challenged to find her voice. She slinks into a room and is content to listen rather than speak. With others around who monopolize the conversation, Alix becomes as invisible as Casper the Ghost. Still, when she opens her mouth, she can be as loud as a magpie. With a voice that can carry across the Atlantic, Alix would get shushed often as a child. Her Uncle Steve used to fondly say, “Indoor blood-curdling scream, Alix”—until his child’s voice proved to carry across two oceans. When Alix’ giggles, the whole world hears. Her belly laugh is an ocean wave catching you by surprise, carrying your body with the force of its power.
More self-disciplined than a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, Alix learned to read completely on her own. Honestly, I can take no credit. While Nick demanded my attention, Alix settled in her room, reading books to her imaginary classroom. Her goal was to read as fast and furiously as possible—comprehension optional. This is the climate in which she developed her own language, “Alix-ese,” conversation in which she speaks so quickly, no one understands her. When Alix learned to write her letters and numbers, she scripted carefully. Anything not inscribed to her satisfaction was immediately erased and re-written. Completing school projects two or three weeks ahead of time were typical feats for her. She was inwardly motivated to achieve this unless I told her she needed to work on her project. Then, her stubbornness would kick in! Alix executed on her terms.
Blonde in beauty and brains, she occasionally reveals her naivety. Years ago, I was driving a bunch of her friends home from her 10th birthday party. I was about to miss the turn, quickly slammed on the brakes and swung onto the street. All commented about my swift abilities.
When I said, “Well, I used to be a race car driver,” all of Alix’ friends oohed and ahhed.
Then, Alix asked, “Really? You used to be a race car driver?”

I cracked up, “No, I’m just joking!”
When we were planning for Nick’s graduation party, we mentioned needing to pick up some 6-foot tables from a friend. She responded, “6-foot tables? How will we see over them?!” Alix has given us more opportunities to laugh than the throng of people present for the changing of the guard. Yet, she’s a good sport, and secretly, I believe she enjoys her knack at being “blonde.”
The meaning of Alix’ name, “Helper of Mankind,” is more foretelling than any of us could have realized at birth. For, she is truly a helper in every sense of the word. She exudes an attitude of helpfulness and agreeableness, performing duties without complaint. She loves to listen to friends who are struggling and will only offer advice if they desire it. Not an overly emotional person, Alix sheds tears infrequently—when she’s in trouble or her friends are suffering. Because of her compassion for others, she plans to become a nurse—a true “Helper of Mankind.”
This sweet little girl is all grown up and ready to spread her wings. At eighteen, she exhibits so many qualities I admire: loyalty, perseverance, self-discipline, quiet spirit, contentment and peacefulness. I am so blessed that God chose me to be her mother, and I pray that she experience all the wonderful plans God has for her.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

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