I want to tell you about our Sweet Marissa. Seems like I have blogged on and on about Princess Maren, but Marissa is something and someone else entirely...
Sweet Marissa is our first born and I remember when they put her in my arms the first time, I felt I completely recognized her. My first thought was, "I know you." Maybe it was because we had spent so much time alone together while we were waiting for her to be born. I read "Goodnight Moon" and "I'll Love You Forever" to my bulging belly every night (or morning if I happened to be working the night shift). The Captain (known then only as the Lowly First Officer) had just started flying commercially and was gone a lot with training and long trips on bad schedules that no one else wanted. We kept each other company. Even now, there is a part of her heart and a part of mine that are the same. I know that part of her.
She is not a girly-girl, but rather takes some pride in being a bit of a tomboy. She is barefeet and mudpuddles, a lightning bug catcher, a cicadia shell collector, dressed in ripped blue jean cutoffs and t-shirts, all wrapped up in a hefty dose of good old Iowa black dirt. Not that she isn't girly-girl material. She has the most beautiful green eyes (her Daddy's) and hair that would make Jennifer Aniston jealous even on her very best good hair days. She just isn't interested.
She thinks that bathroom jokes are the best and often announces quite seriously, with a giggle attached, that she has to "go associate with the big white round one" when nature calls. This is also inherited from her Daddy, I am sure. Not too giggly about the boys just yet and her boyfriends are really still just boyFRIENDS. She loves school, maps, reading, the Newsboys, swimming, her new cousin Lizzy, her dear friend Abby, and maybe, every once in a while, her little sister Maren.
The one thing that really sets Marissa apart is her BIG heart. This is the part that made her cry when we were leaving my mom and dad's the other day. I was backing down the driveway and heard her leave out a big sob. " I really wish Grandpa could walk better. It just makes me so sad. " My dad has Parkinson's disease, and although his teetering, stuttering walk is all she has ever known, I think her sensitive heart knows that things are getting worse and won't be getting better. This is also the part of her that indignantly claimed she was going to grow up to be the "King of China" so they would stop being mean to baby girls there, after hearing in Sunday School that little girls in China are not wanted and left orphaned or worse simply because they are not boys.
She has the gift of empathy. I hope she always has the bravery and spirit to use it. Empathy can leave you a little lonely and misunderstood if others just aren't feeling the love like you do. She is our Sweet Marissa and she really is something else.