Thursday, January 23, 2014

Stories I like to tell, part VI

This one is about Emma. In honor of her turning 14 this month (ouch). It's a small story of a simple incident, and an almost overlookable act, but it speaks volumes about our oldest.

This particular story, however, takes place way back when she was 11. Keep that in mind, right, she's 11 here.

It was a Saturday. In the wee hours of the morning Ben woke up sick with a stomach bug. Oh how we hate those. Scott was planning to go with the youth on a temple trip that day and asked if I'd rather him stay home? That's okay, it's just one pukey kid, we'll be fine. The morning went by without incident, poor Ben stayed quarantined from the other kids, no biggie. As it grew closer to noon however I realized whatever Ben had I was coming down with. Hard. I told Emma I was sick too and needed to go lay down, and asked if she could take care of lunch for the kids. She's a capable 11-year-old, that was no sweat for her. Good thing too, because I was officially out of commission for the next couple of hours (no need for details, right? stomach bug. bad stuff). Later that afternoon when I finally emerged from the worst of it, I found out that Lydia had gotten it too. Here's where it gets awesome.

I was unaware of any of these events as they transpired, but had them later related to me by eyewitnesses. Emma and the "healthy" kids were in the family room watching tv. A suspiciously lethargic 4-year-old Lydia fell asleep on the couch. Grandma and Grandpa were in the neighborhood and stopped by. They bravely came in to visit with the kids for a minute despite the germs crawling all over our house that day. Just then Lydia started to wake up, crying and coughing a gaggy little cough. Somehow, Emma recognized this as the classic about-to-throw-up warning and took a quick survey of their surroundings. Lydia was on the couch, on the floor was a rug, and on the rug was a blanket. As some sort of miraculous crisis-handling instinct, Emma immediately knew the best place for that puke to land, grabbed Lydia and pulled her over to the blanket just in time. That's exactly what I would have done. The one surface that could be put in the washing machine. When I talked to her about it later, Emma confirmed that was exactly her line of thought. Luckily Grandma and Grandpa were there and they kindly helped take care of getting that laundry started, and getting Lydia cleaned up still without me even knowing.

Every time I think of that incident I'm amazed. It may not sound like a big deal, but it was so telling for me. Emma didn't get out of the way when trouble was coming, she jumped right in and saved the couch. She could have just said 'ew, gross' or 'well, I don't want to get sick' or 'not my problem,' but she didn't. Instead she was unselfish, mature, responsible and smart.

And she still is.

Getting her arms hugged off by sisters.

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