Our eighth child, third daughter, won first place in a UIL debate competition. She didn't want me to attend on the first day as she felt she wouldn't do well. "We're not prepared," she said, "but this will be good experience".
She asked her Dad to pick her up at eight in the evening, but he had to wait there awhile because, as she reluctantly told him, she had made it into the semi-finals. Even then, she asked him to wait outside, though spectators were allowed. When she was finished she apologized for making him wait but that was all she told him.
The next morning, Saturday, when we were at her younger sister's volleyball team, she called and asked if Dad could take her back to the same high school. He asked her why and she said it was because she had made it to the finals. I tell it to you like this so you get an idea of what kind of person our daughter is like: low-key, unassuming, modest, thoughtful, smart and capable, and so much more.
She went back to that competition Saturday and she won it. She was very pleased, but downplayed her acheivement by saying how her opponents had used a different kind of logic and that the judges must have preferred either her and her partners way of explaining their point of view or that they were more appealing to the judges because they were girls. That's how she rolls.
A couple of my darling D-I-L's have expressed a wish that I would characterise each of the nine from my point of view. But, I can't! I don't understand them completely and to describe them from my point of view would be to limit them in some way. I'm proud of all of them. I'm astounded at times in fact. It's fun sometimes to see bits of my self in them, but it's fascinating to see things in them to which I can't even relate. They are their own persons and I love that!
One thing that has been really fun for me is seeing how each blossoms as they become the "oldest child"-meaning the oldest at home. Michelle never talked to me while Hayley was still at home and yet opened up and shared so much once she was the oldest. I used to beg Chelsea to talk to me, to no avail, until her older sisters were both away at college. Now she talks to me all the time. I feel so privileged when my children trust me enough to talk to me about how they feel about things and what is going on in their lives.
One thing I've noticed about Chelsea is that she sees me as a person, not just her mom. I think that she is the only one who has done that at such a young age (15). (If I am remembering correctly, and that's questionable.) That's not to say that my other children were unsympathetic or thoughtless. It's a difficult thing to explain, at least for me. But, I can tell when someone is treating me as a "role" (wife, mother, etc) or as a 3-dimen-sional person with all the feelings, frailities and strengths of other people.
Chelsea has no idea how beautiful she is nor how smart she is. Yet she doesn't follow others. It's not like she has low self-esteem. She hasn't realised her full "power" yet, but she thinks for herself and evaluates her decisions. She likes to argue just for the "fun" of it, but she's not disrespectful when she does it. She relies on logic and fact and smiles as she argues with you. I don't like to argue, so I can't say that I enjoy this part of her, but I see how good she is at it and admire it. In fact, we always have said she should be a lawyer. It's probably why, without any training, she could win a debate tournamnet.
A thoughtfulness and consideration for others sets her apart from the crowd. She doesn't betray her values or beliefs, but she doesn't want others to be uncomfortable so she will let them think what they will if that makes them happy. You can always tell when she's doing that because she has this certain smile on her face and a little laugh that she does.