Growing up, I remember quite a few times hearing my mother say, "Karlene, I hope you get a little girl JUST LIKE YOU!" It was usually following one of my antics that often left my mother exasperated. But when Annalia was born, and as I got to know her personality, I was so thankful that my mother's wish came true. Annalia is very much like me. Which is actually great, because I understand her. She is 100% a people person; slow to judge and quick to forgive. She doesn't harbor secrets and will tell you exactly what is on her mind if you ask her (and sometimes even when you don't.) Because I understand why she does what she does, it makes it so much easier to discipline and guide her. I already know how these characteristics can be a good thing, but more importantly, how they can be bad. I can start teaching her now that not everyone is so transparent, and how to deal with that. I can start teaching her how to hold on to her passion and enthusiasm for more than 3 minutes. And I will be ready when her open heart gets broken, reminding her that it is still ok to love freely.
And now I have my beautiful Naomi, whom I originally thought was almost the complete opposite. Naomi guards her feelings in and very judicious about who she opens up to. (After a year and a half, she finally started opening up to the nursery workers at church.) Not because she is shy - I have figured that out now. She is just careful with her heart. Something I very much do not understand. And I think here is where I think the intent of my Mom's declaration may actually come true. Now it is my challenge to appreciate this quality in Naomi, and encourage her as she makes deep, lasting friendships (as I know she will.) To admire her perseverance, and acknowledge her quiet, heartfelt actions.
Now of course, Annalia isn't EXACTLY like me, and Naomi isn't my COMPLETE opposite. It has been so fun to see Naomi's carefree personality come through these past few months. Although Annalia is very open to meeting new people, she is not as open to doing new things. This girl is just now learning how to slide down the slide on her own. I don't know what I was like as a toddler, but most people who know me, know that I am often the first to jump into some crazy adventure. And this is where I see myself in Naomi. She may not always tell me what she is thinking or how she feels, but I can see her sense of adventure coming through. On a recent trip to the beach, while Annalia was safe on the sand, making new friends, Naomi and I were down by the water's edge, feeling the roll of the waves over our feet. I recognized the look in her eyes as she gazed across the vast water. She longed to be out there, to know what was on the other side. And I did something I didn't even know was possible, I loved her even more.
Here - both girls in their outfit of choice. I just couldn't resist the contrast :)