Our Emily (7) has fallen ill today. As we are trying to make her comfortable, our oldest, Leah (11) says, “You guys treat her like an infant.” We laugh because it sounds so silly. She is sick and we are doing what it takes to lessen the pain – a little cuddling and doting, asking if she needs anything and how she feels. But as I reflect I realize it’s not about Emily being sick, it’s about how we treat the two of them differently.
Leah is older.
We gave her just as much special attention when she was younger.
Leah is confident.
She doesn’t need the reinforcement like her sister.
Leah is less emotional.
She never appreciated the cuddling and warm embracing.
But would she now?
Leah is independent.
She doesn’t need the constant guidance and nurturing support.
But do we give her enough?
Leah is an amazing girl, turning into a beautiful pre-teen. Among many other things, she is intelligent, a self-starter, hard-worker, leader, and wonderful athlete. Most importantly and what makes us most proud is that she is compassionate and kind to others. We find her to be so mentally strong and responsible that we, probably mostly I, forget that she still has needs too. We all do as humans, no matter our age or characteristics. So I will allow Leah’s comment today to serve as a reminder, a reminder to give her hugs even when they seem unwanted and some extra love through my actions and words. Hopefully it will be just what she needs.