My firstborn is 10 1/2. I haven't written about her in quite some time. This morning as I was watching her getting ready for the day and my heart was overwhelmed with love, pride, and awe. She's growing up in front of my eyes and I am loving the young lady she has become. At 4'7" and 69 pounds, she's on the petite side. Snapper's 4'7" is mostly leg. She's lean and muscular from swimming, and is the picture of health.
What does Snapper love?
Snapper loves the color turquoise. Her favorite animal is a cat. She loves to eat savory foods. Her favorite food in the whole wide world is cheese souffle. Lucky I have a good recipe, right? And lucky for her the other kids don't care for it! Her favorite lunch is roasted garlic hummus with chips, cucumber and bell pepper slices, white cheddar cheese, an apple, and yogurt. She's a big water drinker, though she loves chocolate milk, too. She doesn't eat sweets very often...she never has been big into the sweets. When Snapper has free time, she loves to read stories filled with adventure. She's currently two chapters into the fourth Harry Potter book. I anticipate she'll have the book finished by tomorrow night. She loves riding her bike, roller skating in our driveway, and swinging on our big tire swing. She likes to play with Bubbles, especially if they're playing with their Barbies or American Girl dolls. Her best friend is Bubbles. There's a boy at school--Ryan--who is her other best friend. She and Ryan are on swim team together, so they see each other almost every day. We know and adore Ryan's family, and love how Snapper and Ryan really bring out the best in each other. They have a no-drama friendship. Their focus is on the books they're reading, and engineering plans they are making together. Ha!!!
Snapper is a good student. I wouldn't say she's an excellent student because she rarely puts in full effort. However, she's very, very bright--IQ on the exceptional/genius border--and she doesn't have to put in very much effort to get excellent grades. While she's a well-rounded student, her forte really is math. She loves math an grasps the concepts easily. She's in 5th grade, but she's taking 6th grade math this year, and came in national 99th percentile on her latest benchmark test. Snapper currently attends our neighborhood school, but she'll be going to a Christian college prep school next year. She needs the high challenge educational setting in combination with the small class size. It's going to be a great fit for her.
Snapper is a competitive swimmer. She practices four days per week and does very well. She's not the strongest swimmer in her age group on our team, but she still in the top 20% of the age group in all strokes, nationwide. She brings home ribbons and an occasional medal. But the real benefit of swimming for Snapper is therapeutic. She has sensory processing problems, specifically that her muscles and joints do not relay enough information to her brain about her body's location in space, and her inner ears do not send enough information to help her balance and coordination. Prior to swimming, Snapper was clumsy, awkward, and fearful of most physical activities. The swimming has accomplished for her what hours of occupational therapy would accomplish. She understands that whether she loves swim team or not, she will continue, because swimming brings her freedom in other areas of her life. She is committed to it, and just happens to excel at it in the process, which is fun.
Snapper also take martial arts classes with Bubbles and Pepper. The martial arts studio allows her to participate for only $20 per month! How could we turn that down? The martial arts is building more discipline in her life, and is also helping her with sensory processing. As she is progressing, we're seeing her grow in confidence. She holds herself straighter, makes better eye contact, and is regulating her emotions better. Hooray for martial arts!
This is perhaps Snapper's greatest strength. She loves God passionately. He has given her the most generous, compassionate, caring heart. She is constantly on the lookout for ways to meet others' needs, and to show them the love of Christ. I just love it! I love her! Snapper is in AWANA at our church. She has committed hundreds of verses to memory over the last 7 years, and God's Word is a real, important part of her life and decision making. She hasn't decided what she wants to be when she grows up, but her #1 criteria is that she is doing what is most honoring to God. Wow!!! I wasn't like that as a 10-year-old!!! I wouldn't have understood her when I was a 10-year-old. She has such depth! She boggles my mind.
Since we brought Bubbles, Piper, and Sunny home last summer, I have watched Snapper grow so much in strength of character. Her selfishness has greatly diminished. Her temper fuse has lengthened...a lot. She has figured out how to control her emotions most of the time. She has learned how to use her words to express what she is feeling in a healthy manner. She has become a more willing to help around the house. She is beginning to see needs at home--such as noticing when a sister needs help getting dress, or when the cats are out of food--and respond to them without being asked, and without me having to point out the needs. She has developed a heart of gratitude, thanking me regularly for the things I do to make her life better. She has become so much more respectful in the way she responds to Matt and me! I can't remember the last time she spoke a sassy word! Her manners are just about flawless. Oh, the growth! Snapper is still a bit socially awkward, but she is a pleasure to be around, a delightful companion, and such a blessing to have in our home and family.
I love this girl so much! Many parents quake in their boots as they approach their children's teen years. Not I!!! I am excited for the growth and change that will come in those years, and I am looking forward to walking that journey with my sweet, beautiful daughter.