I was actually stopped by strangers who told me they'd never seen a prettier baby! Amy is the middle child of our 7 kids. But for 2 and a half years she was the baby. Later she could go either way...if the big kids were in trouble, she was a little kid. If the big kids got an outing, she was a big kid. But she really was a little kid. Every entry in my journal for years refers to her as being tiny. "She's the littlest thing..." "She's so petite..." "She's way too little to be 4..." "Everyone comments on how little Amy is..." "She won't eat a thing." But everyone also commented on how cute she was. She had jaundice which gave her a beautiful complexion, she was overdue and not fragile, and it was summer so I could be outside and show her off.
Having 3 older siblings toughened her up. Although Amy looked like a little doll, she could handle herself. She was smart enough to know when to hit back, and when to cry like a little girl. She took ballet, but was also the only girl on the Little League team. Her goal was to be a tomboy but her looks never let her pull it off. Being a tomboy did put her in touch with the boys, though, and she ended up liking the perks.
In fairness, I must mention that there was a stage of gawky-ness where Amy wore giant round purple glasses, leg warmers and greeted friends she'd just left five minutes before with giggles and hugs that were decidedly dorky. She incorporated some strange eye-blinking techniques into her persona, followed by constant throat-clearing that became annoying after 5 seconds. She had very short legs and a big head of curly hair, and she looked a bit unbalanced. She added baseball hats (worn backwards) into her ensemble and for several months tried hard to look more like a boy than she did a girl. I had high hopes that this would pass. It did.
One night when Micah was a sophomore in high school, hoping to be seen as cool, he invited a bunch of his new buddies over. They were all sitting in the kitchen grazing, when he came bounding upstairs to our room, in quite a state. "Get her out of there! She's ruining it!" Apparently Amy had wandered in and was "totally bugging" all the guys Micah was trying to impress. I understood. I had had little sisters to contend with, too. I went down to the kitchen to shoo her away, and the image I saw has never left my mind. Amy was holding court. She was standing at the head of the table laughing and talking, and the boys were sitting, staring with their mouths hanging open, eyes glazed, bits of drool noticeable on their lips, mesmerized by this 9th grade interloper little sister. Taking in the scene made a very clear point. Amy had grown up.
Amy is an artist. Check out her blog. She draws, sketches, and illustrates, and has darling handwriting, with a great eye for color and balance. She was always my go-to girl for posters or invitations when she was young. She loves interior design. Her home is full of personality, with every shelf and corner a work of art. Yet it is also comfortable and welcoming, a place for a family. I've walked into her bedroom when the bed isn't made, and the pillows are tossed on the floor, and still it all looks so colorful and cute it could be featured in a magazine. She can make even chaos look artistic. She's not afraid to let her kids finger paint, etc., and she never worries that they'll make a mess. That's part of the fun! She crafts, cooks, and colors with her 3 little girls, sews and crochets, and every day feels like a holiday. Except holidays, when she decorates and celebrates and entertains even more.This is a mother/wife extraordinaire. Her girls enjoy field trips to gardens, art galleries and museums. At 2, 4, and 5 years old they know the states and capitols, Broadway musicals, and how to grow sunflowers. They've learned to read, and read music, and appreciate Jane Austen while they're still in diapers and sucking on binkies. Amy's husband Sco is a brilliant mathematician and they call him The Count as he tutors them in number concepts. They visit the elderly (me), take treats to neighbors and go Caroling at Christmas.
Amy plays the violin, and taught herself to play the piano. She plays the mandolin and the guitar as well, and has played in a Bluegrass Band. She is a graphic artist and has designed books for publication, as well as a scrapbook a year for each daughter. She has organized huge Easter Egg hunts for her neighborhood, and was in charge of a 4th of July Breakfast attended by hundreds of people in the community. I could list her activities in volumes, but you get the gist.
Can you imagine that this woman doubts herself? She sometimes feels inadequate, and worries that she's not accomplishing anything of worth. She wonders if she's doing all she should. She doesn't trust the feedback she receives because she doesn't see herself as anyone out of the ordinary. She worries that her hair is too curly, or that her figure's too curvy.
She's oblivious to herself and her abilities, and that blind spot makes her even better. She is humble and unselfish with her time and talents. She'll listen for hours, not pass judgements, but always encourage. She'll tend people's kids, design their flyers, and give them violin lessons. I heard someone singing the other day as she walked by:"She must have been a beautiful baby, cause baby, look at her now!"