A few nights ago, I sat with Julianna on my lap.
J: Mom, I think I know more about life than you.
M: Oh really?
J: shakes her head. No, I’m just kidding.
I pressed her for details, and this is what she shared.
- “You have to be born for your mommy to see you.”
- “They let you sleep a lot. I know that really well.”
- “Cinnamon: if you sniff it, you will sneeze.”
Surely there’s more? There is, but she thinks of it in “bits”. She has promised to divulge her discoveries as they come.
One thing I’ve wondered about – and asked on several occasions – is how she stays so happy.
Perpetual brightness, like clichés, can be annoying. After all, clouds don’t have a lining, (silver or otherwise) and not everything has reason for happening. Our Julianna is almost always happy, but here is nothing false nor cloying about her. She’s a five-year-old who knows suffering yet is utterly unfamiliar with bitterness or self-pity. I don’t think she’s choosing joy or happiness – she just is.
And when I ask her, the answer is always the same. Why are you so happy all the time? She shrugs and says “God made me that way.”
And I believe it. I believe that her capacity for joy that is independent of circumstance is a gift from God. It’s humbling, and thankfully, it’s infectious.
These are the things that brought us joy this week:
A moment off BiPAP, that smile, and her cute little nose. I’m used to and grateful for the BiPAP, but I miss this.
Sunrise, sunset. Julianna slept through the sunrise (with her favorite colors!) but caught the sunset.
And, as always, the funny.
M: What is this picture from?
J: Mom, it’s when I went to Alex’s school…
I look at again, and she’s right. About ten months ago, we took Julianna to Alex’s school play. She’s been out of the house just a few times this last year, so of course she remembers. But it’s still remarkable, how quickly her mind works…
M: You’re right! How do you remember things so well?
J: Mom, when you get older, you start to forget things….
M: Are you saying that I’m getting old and forgetful?
M: So at what age do people start forgetting things?
Julianna is playing with her grocery store. Its shelves are lined with about a hundred tiny little items that require slender fingers and a good deal of manual dexterity. Steve doesn’t have the former, and keeps knocking things off the shelves. J is uneasy.
Steve picks up one of the items – a cheese wheel.
J: Can you put that down please? It’s expensive…
A few minutes later, she’s had enough. Steve comes to the kitchen and tells me that Julianna is requesting my presence. She knows my fingers are skinnier.
And lastly, J had a visit from some colleagues.
She loved it, of course. I wonder if any other Anna has ever been asked to read Calvin and Hobbes? Afterwards:
M: So I guess princesses are real, huh?
J: nods. Did you not believe me before?
M: I guess I didn’t…
J: pauses — But I did see some brown hair. (This Elsa is really a brunette…)
M: You did? (laughing)
J: quickly — But it’s OK!!