Nikki at about 4 or 5
You'll have to endure one more day of family photos, for today is my youngest offspring's birthday. Our family has always joked that the day God made Nikki, He broke the mold. I know many say that, but we really meant it; and some of it, we even meant in a good way! ;-Þ
Seriously, this little girl of mine was a challenge to raise. In my 52 years of living, I've never met an individual with a stronger will. She wore me out, and gave me a premature head of grey hair. I assure you, she did not lack for discipline. Having raised her older brother for 8 1/2 years by the time she was born, I was not prepared for a child who didn't 'mind'. It was a whole new ballgame for me.
Combined with that fiery temper and dogged determination to have her way, was a sweet, and often hilarious, larger than life personality. Hubby and I spent alot of time crying out to God for wisdom on her behalf. She challenged us to the core. Anything requiring that great of effort was bound to bring great rewards, though, and raising her has.
She may be petite, but you always know when she's in the room. She's one of those who simply commands attention (and having a loud voice helps!). She has a heart as big as Texas, and a smile to match. She'd never willingly hurt anyone's feelings. She's compassionate toward those who are sick or hurting. She loves every baby she ever saw, and thinks each one is beautiful (even when they aren't).
Nikki, yesterday, bundled up in Minneapolis
She has a unique ability to elicit obedience from children with hardly any effort. They simply long to please her. Babies and children adore her, and she, them. I can remember in her teen years when she'd think nothing of canceling a date or an evening with friends because of a last minute opportunity to babysit, and it wasn't about the money. Parents would often have to insist she take the money. In her mind, she was doing it for the fun.
Today, she's 24. We're no longer raising her; but we are enjoying her. She's a blessing as a daughter; as sweet and thoughtful as she can be. She has matured, but she still loves to play and have fun. She's independent and confident, and I know she'll make her mark on the world. My greatest desire is that she makes it for God.
Nikki, last year in Europe