My sister Kate is a strong-willed, amazing, brave woman. My husband's sister Emily is likewise strong and capable. Little did I know that when we named our daughter Emily Katherine that she would also be so strong-willed and determined. From the time she was a baby she has been a very goal oriented stubborn little girl. Once when she was learning to crawl she saw a toy on the other side of a large pile of laundry. She struggled hard to get past it. I noticed her predicament and moved the pile out from between her and the toy. She changed course and proceeded over the pile, which was now out of the way, to get the toy.
The other thing that really defines my daughter's personality is her joyous spirit. When she isn't being a little turkey (and sometimes when she is) she is nearly always smiling. She is just a happy kid, and she is sensitive to the moods of others.
One of my favorite things about my EmmyKate is the way she responds to the question "How are you?". She nearly always responds with an emphatic "Great!" Even when she is feeling glum she will respond with something like "I'm a little sad and a little great." I sometimes envy her carefree attitude toward life, especially in moments when I feel very down-trodden and grown up. I don't want her to lose that ever. When I think about that my mind begins to drift towards what I can do to ensure that she grows up as an optimistic force for good.
I think the best thing that any parent can do is to lead by example. If you want your child to work, than show them how to work. If you want your child to love than show them love. If you want your child to be an optimist than you had better learn to be an optimist. Optimism is not my forte, but it is something I want so badly for myself, and my children. So for guidance I turned to the biggest optimist I know, my four-year-old EmmyKate.
I have decided that whenever someone asks me how I am doing that I am going to respond the same way as my cute kiddo with a resounding "Great!". Now I know that this could turn into one of those little habits that we pick up the way that we answer the telephone with "hello" or "what's up". It very well could lose it's meaning incredibly fast, and then be a completely useless thing for me to do, but saying is only half of it. When I tell someone that I am great I want to BE great.
Last night at work was very difficult. I was fatigued to the point of exhaustion, and it made things feel like they were ten times harder to do, but every time someone asked me how I was I responded "Great!" The first thing I noticed was that my response often was met with a smile. Smiles are not something I see a whole lot of on the night shift. It was refreshing. Then after our brief exchange I would continue working, my thoughts going along the lines of "You really are great you know. You have a wonderful husband and children, you have a decent job, and a roof over your head, you have friends and family who love you , and care about you , and pray for you. Yeah life is pretty great. YOU are pretty great and you can do anything."
Now it is entirely possible that I was just going a little crazy and talking to myself. I very well could have been hallucinating my whole shift (it was a really weird shift with a shirtless marine, and a grown man playing hide-and-seek in the fitting room scaring me half-to death, not joking it actually happened). However, crazy or not, hallucination or not, it felt good to think about my blessings, and to reflect on the good I have to offer this world. I think I am going to continue my little experiment. I am going to continue to emulate my sweet daughter, EmmyKate the Great. I wonder what it will look like on the other side of a decent amount of sleep. I bet it is going to be awesome.