Penelope has four older siblings who are all teens or preteens. This year, parenting them has been an onslaught of decisions and discussions about faith, dating, high schools, colleges, money, sexuality, driving, and independence. Comparatively, parenting Penelope has been a reprieve. Parenting Penelope has felt easy. She is nine going on nine, joyfully content to just be the age she is.
In the spring, I named a worry I had for each child but when I got to P, I couldn't think of anything distinct. She enjoys school and is excelling at reading. She plays soccer and likes to draw. She has friends that she loves and love her back. She climbs trees. She would scamper up the tree by the bus stop many mornings and then drop down when she saw yellow turning the corner. She plays video games with her brothers and watches Survivor and Big Brother with me. This year, I noticed how much of a giggler she is, the sound of it filling our house daily, hourly. She finds me regularly just to give me a hug.
I mean, she's not great at cleaning her room. She abandons the task and declares she forgot (insert eye roll) but, otherwise, in this season, she is not making me flex my parenting skills very much.
Well, until June when a little friend cried out, "Penelope hurt her wrist" and then I see her walk up the hill with a shockingly NOT straight arm. She snapped both her ulna and
tibia radius when she fell off a ladder which according to Maggie was the height of a refrigerator. A pediatric nurse was in our company at the time and gave her a sling and us instructions for where to take her. That nurse woke up the next morning with the discovery that she had Covid, but I was so grateful she was there face to face with my babe, calming us all.
And so parenting Penelope looked like sitting with her during x-rays and castings and telling a nine going on nine year old the worst summer news, you can't swim for a month. A month turned into seven weeks when they removed her long cast and discovered they had burned her arm when they cut her original cast to allow for swelling. The nurse tried to make it up to her by offering her sparkles on her new, shorter cast. Penelope wouldn't even look at her, wouldn't even pick a color for her cast.
Seeing how this happened four days before our trip to Hawaii, she was a pretty good sport. She found joy in experiencing her first plane ride (that she can remember). When the rest of our family went zip-lining, she and I went into the city to find mochi, a Japanese candy. I'm so grateful for the resilient, beautiful soul she is.