*today it's 55 syllables instead of words
will of iron
challenger of fools,
what will tame your wild heart
which runs free in the woodlands?
come now, and still yourself
beneath the silver moon
then wander in peace
Yesterday was opening day of the youth deer hunt here in Pennsylvania. I apologize to those readers who are anti-hunting. Our family eats what we take. It's cheap, organic meat that tastes better than beef. It's not about bloodsport. A trophy is not the goal, a full freezer is. We will get excited over a nice set of antlers but we won't pass up a good sized doe just to wait for a trophy rack.
Diana went out for her fourth hunting season and for the fourth year in a row she brought home a nice sized deer that will feed us for quite some time. For the fourth time she managed to bag her quarry within the first two hours of her first day out in the season. The kid really has done extremely well for herself and our family. Yes, she's a girl and she handles a .270 Ruger rifle with confidence and skill (and we are ADAMANT about safe handling since there is absolutely no room for error).
So for this week I want to count Diana. I'm counting her not just because she can hunt but for all of who she is. She came out of the chute 40 years old. She never considered that she was on anything less than equal footing with the rest of the world. She just assumed she was in charge. She told me when she was 3 that she knew more than I did and I should just be quiet and listen. It makes her quite 'interesting' to parent. All those grey hairs on my head? Diana is responsible for a LOT of them.
She has a very inquisitive mind. She wants to know WHY things are as they are. WHY are you asking her to do things a certain way? Good luck swaying her if you cannot convince her of the logic of your position. When she was nearly 4 and still refusing to be potty trained I asked her in exasperation WHY she wouldn't use the potty. In her own words she replied very matter-of-factly, 'Because I don't want you to control me.' Hand to God, I am not kidding you. That's what the kid said at the tender age of 3 1/2. It can be wearisome but I really do not worry about her bowing to peer pressure. She's got a good head on her shoulders and finds it quite laughable that someone would expect her to change in order to win their friendship.
She is very articulate too. She accepts that her peers don't always understand her. When she uses good vocabulary correctly and teachers give her strange looks she'll narrow her eyes and ask if she should use smaller words. She says exactly what she means and means exactly what she says. We are working on developing some level of diplomacy with her, not every opinion demands expression.
She'll soon be 16 but she never seemed to go through that horrendously self-conscious stage between 11-14. Even at that age she carried herself with more confidence than many adults. I was amazed at how comfortable she was in her own skin at that point.
She is utterly perseverant when it really matters to her. She's played trumpet for 5 years. She's been 2nd chair the whole time. She is determined to make first chair eventually. Even though there has been some clear favoritism going on toward the girl who is first chair (and this girl freely admits it) Diana has not given up and she has maintained a good friendship with the girl seated ahead of her. I can't tell you how proud I am that she's found the balance between pressing for excellence without stomping on people to be number one.
Sometimes it's easy to miss her tender side but she does have one. She works with the autistic son of a friend. The mother has trained her in the specific therapeutic activities he receives and Diana looks forward to her times with this boy. Her confidence helps keep him on task but her tenderness comes through in the smiles she gives and receives and the fun they have together.
She's done the same with me over the last few months as she's helped me with some of the things I need to do to get Janita working. She also proved she can keep cool in a crisis and do the things that need doing when I fell. She's been saying for a year that she wants to be a registered nurse. I didn't necessarily see her being gratified by sitting on a hospital floor shuffling paperwork and asked her about that. She looked at me as if to say, 'Duh, Mom!' and then she told me she wanted to be a trauma or a scrub nurse. I should have known...that would suit her well.
So this week, I'm counting my tenacious, strong-willed, articulate, bright, focused Diana. I'm so proud of her and I love her to bits.