216 months with a ‘living twinkle’

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Regular readers know her as “Girl Wonder.” She also answers to “Doodle” around the house. Always one for a dramatic entrance, she took nine hours to debut. Knowing what we do now, we assume she was fussing with her hair. She arrived as a fourth to balance out our family.

On a warm late April day, she was carried home to a 100+-year-old house she would call home her entire childhood. She loves this house fiercely (despite telling us it is haunted). At age four, she assured us that if we chose to move, she was really going to miss us.

Her first day here, we set her infant seat in the grass and proceeded to blow bubbles with her 22-month-old brother. A tiny baby bunny ended up snuggled atop the blanket.

In retrospect, this was a sign. She is a sort of pied piper for animals and children. They always adore her.

From Day One as a second born, she wasn’t the only child but managed, still, to be the center of attention. We laid her gently into her big brother’s arms and told him she was his baby too. He was a man of his word, even at two years old.

He has never forgotten it, nor let anyone else forget it. If asked today, he will tell you he helped raise her.

Following footsteps

She wanted to do everything her big brother did. She wanted to run faster, kick farther, and go wherever he went.

Her brother, for his part, explains her award-winning soccer prowess by noting that he taught her everything she knows. I couldn’t kick my way out of sand so as far as I know, he’s probably right.

She had a charmed childhood. Adored by all animals and people, she was once described as “a living twinkle.” It fits.

I have been thrilled for years by the teachers and parents who relate stories of how she went out of her way to advocate for, or show kindness to, others. As team captain, she looked out for “her girls” of every age and playing style. She is many things, but most of all she is kind.

She holds school records for athletic achievement, is a member of the National Honor Society, takes college courses in high school, and is ranked fourth in her class academically.

She can sing beautifully, which we discovered almost by accident when she went out for a part in the school play on a lark. She expected to “hum in the background.” She ended up a lead two years in a row.

We will always cherish our memories of her as Erma in Anything Goes and Fantine in Les Miserables. Her father, for his part, could do without her singing to sailors or dying on stage for a while.

Sassy

To temper this mama brag, I will admit that she also has a wicked temper and more than a standard dose of sass. She is, after all, our child.

She beat up a boy when she was in seventh grade (no regrets). She stood up to a bully who had at least 6 inches of height and more than hundred pounds on her.

She does not suffer fools but is also known for being exceedingly fair. That’s a rare balance that few achieve. I still struggle with it myself.

In the interest of full disclosure, she is also a bit messy. She cannot, apparently, close a sock drawer, wash out a tea cup, or throw away a cotton ball at all.

We have worked to balance her privacy as a young girl with the joy in sharing her childhood and our family with so many who are kind enough to read my essays.

As we did with her brother, we waited until her 18th birthday to share what her actual name is (although GirlWonder totally suits her). GirlWonder’s actual name is Kassandra Jeannette.

She is named for a soap opera character (shout out to my fellow late ’90s Guiding Light fans), and her great-great grandmother who died when I was 18. They never met but I feel confident in saying that my great-grandmother, Jeannette, would have adored her. Everyone who meets her generally does.

I’m not ready to retire. It seems I had just really settled into the groove of the mom job. The hours are steady (24/7), the pay is priceless. What’s not to love?

Then, just like that, she is 216 months old. She is the best part of so many of us and one of the two greatest accomplishments of my life.

If I amount to nothing else in this world, I feel confident in saying that being Kassandra Jeannette Seabolt’s mother has been a truly amazing gift for 18 years and counting.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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