Lucy is eight years old! I started this post with maudlin and graphic recollections about what I was doing at this very moment eight years ago, but I decided instead to write about Lu. We think a lot as parents about our role in helping our children become good people, and with this in mind, I surveyed my child:

Lu is a highly relational creature. A billboard we drive by, a story on NPR, something they’re reading in language arts, weather reports, overheard conversations between adults: she is always trying to relate the information to experiences in her own life. Making connections is her most persistent narrative.

When Lu says something, she will repeat it until you have responded in some way (and nodding your head doesn’t count). She wants to be heard.

She argues and negotiates constantly. Jason has banned the word “wait” from our family vocabulary and if he could ban “but,” I think he would. This kid is ready for the Supreme Court.

She empathetic and kind and melodramatic and impulsive. She is both flamboyant and nuanced in her communication. She reads social cues well. She cares about other people, but she wants to (and likely will) have her own way.

Her curiosity is exhausting (to her and to us). Her creativity is boundless (ask to see the wallet she made out of duct tape).

She is an optimist with a consistent capacity to forgive. She can be in a wailing heap on her bedroom floor over some injustice of the mother regime one minute, then saying “Mom, can we start over?” the next.

Knowing how much I admire and love the person Lu already is, I am forced to reconsider my job as a parent: maybe I’m not supposed to help her become anything, but to keep safe all these great qualities so she can be, into adulthood, all that she already is.