An Article My Sister Wrote About Skylar

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Oh, to be four years old again.

Free of the complications that come from dealing with the outside world.

Open to all the experiences to come.

On top of the world.

Or maybe that’s just the way my niece Skylar looks at her life.

At a recent birthday party for her and her soon-to-be 2-year-old brother (with one may birthday and one July birthday, my sister split the difference and had a joint party in June), my brother — her uncle — greeted her by asking how she was.

She giggled and said, “Good,” with a tone in her voice that plainly questioned why anyone would even have to ask.

Indeed, with people arriving every few minutes bearing gifts for her and her brother, dressed in a flower girl dress she wore to a wedding a few months ago, in red-trimmed socks and pink Crocs shoes, what was there to be unhappy about?

I know she’s not always quite so sunny. I’ve seen and heard about her temper and her strong will. But most of the time, she’s a remarkably happy child.

Born prematurely, Skylar spent the first weeks of her life in a neonatal intensive care unit. But she grew and thrived.

She went to day care as an infant and toddler, until her younger brother was born, and has been cared for by a variety of occasional babysitters, mostly family and friends. She never seemed to mind; each new person was an opportunity to play.

That sense of adventure doesn’t make her an easy child to raise, of course. If there’s a way to climb up on something, she’ll do it. Leaping before she looks has happened more than once, as has trying to “clean” her baby brother by pouring a bottle of shampoo over his head.

My brother said he does remember her going through a shy phase, for about a day.

Now, the oldest of three children in her family, she thinks she’s in charge of the world. When her cousins — my kids — come to visit, she assumes they are there to see her. Truth be told, as much as they enjoy their aunt, uncle and younger cousins, she’s mostly right. She’s the perfect age: old enough to play with them, and young enough to look up to them. But sometimes, her energy wears even them down.

“Caroline, you’re not playing anymore?” she’ll ask in a confused tone.

She came up to my mother and asked, “Why aren’t you smiling?” I imagine in a similar tone.

The rest of us probably can never be as carefree as a 4-year-old with a winsome personality. We have too many calls on our attention, too many things to do, too many things to worry about.

But Jesus told us that it’s okay to not worry so much.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Mt 6:26-27)

So maybe Skylar can teach us all a lesson.


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