Though Rachel is actually my second daughter, she is my firstborn because her older sister, Anna Vivian, went to be with the Lord while I was pregnant with her. And so it was through Rachel that I first experienced childbirth and through Rachel that I've first encountered all the "firsts" of parenting. Thus, though her name means "little lamb," I lovingly refer to her as "my little guinea pig" since it's with her that I have had my initial lessons in mothering. And I probably owe her something because of all my stumbles along the way. But the most beautiful thing is that she loves me profusely anyway, a gift I do not deserve but in which I revel.
For her sister Abigail's birthday earlier this month, I wrote a simple acrostic poem to give a glimpse of my precious girl. And so now for sweet Rachel, too, I offer this acrostic snapshot:
Rachel is a very "logic smart" girl. She longs for things to make sense and excels when she can figure out the correct rules or steps to follow. She also prefers to speak and be spoken to in a straight-forward, direct way and will often go to great lengths to make her point known. And she has always preferred the factual - gravitating toward history, biography, and science books, for example - much more than fantasy or fairy tale.
She is also very "picture smart" and seems to have inherited her daddy's artistic talent. She has always enjoyed coloring and, as she's gotten older, we've seen her drawing skills begin to blossom. In fact, we're often amazed at what she produces because, though we regularly include art in our home learning program, her ability far surpasses any formal instruction she's received. It's just "there" - within her.
In addition to her artistic creativity, Rachel has an amazing imagination and can often spend hours in make-believe play with her sister. Whether with herself as a character or with her Barbies and other dolls, she very often re-creates historical scenes of which she's learned, adding in her own creative twists for fun.
She enjoys being with friends, but she doesn't necessarily seek them out and can, in fact, appear at times to be somewhat of a loner. She loves climbing a tree in the summer, book or sketchpad in hand, or chooses to surround herself with a big pile of books to peruse in the afternoons. I have realized that she is very content with and in herself as she is, and so her temperament - though not as sociable as some would prefer - is just perfect for her and is something to honor and nurture.
Rachel is also very "body smart" and is almost always "on the go" in one way or another. In fact, it seems as if she has not stopped moving since she started rolling at just two and a half months old! She learned to count to 100 by skipping and hopping around the kitchen table...she loves climbing trees and running...she has picked up on playing the piano quite easily because of the movement inherent in that task...and she often spontaneously breaks into dance or decides to climb a door frame "just because." She excelled at gymnastics when she took lessons and has become an accomplished swimmer. I look forward to seeing how the Lord will continue to use this way that He's wired her.
Though she's often on the move and doesn't need a pile to friends to be happy, she has always been quick to stop for hugs with us, and she cherishes cuddle time even to this day. In fact, because she is very sensitive to the world around her, that time of cuddling comforts her. She instantly fell in love with Abigail when her baby sister came along before she'd even turned one and has never shown any kind of sibling rivalry; in fact, she refers to Abigail as her best friend. And she loves God, too, asking me to help her pray to accept Jesus as her Savior when she was just five years old and now earnestly wanting to be more and more like Him.
Obviously, she's not perfect. But today is a day to celebrate this child who has been such a blessing to me, and so I've chosen to focus on some of her strengths. This wonderful girl is amazing in many ways...but mostly just because she IS.