All of her art teachers have enjoyed her natural drawing ability, frequently picking out her works to display. Most of her teachers loved having her in their class (not her PE teacher in the 4th grade--she was too intense) because of her out-of-the-box ideas and adult-like conversational gifts. She was given high marks for her respectful behavior in the classroom. (The playground and lunchroom were another thing--too unstructured) She loves science and history, soaking up information like a sponge. I often find her reading one of our many history books all on her own. Caroline has always been gifted musically, writing her own songs from about the age of seven. Her music teachers remarked about her beautiful voice and she has sung solos.
Her compassion for the less fortunate and for animals has always been evident. Her favorite shows are all on animal planet. She volunteered with the SPCA when she was ten, wanting to help all of those dogs. I had to do it with her because of her age--that was fun mother/daughter experience. A rabbit bit me and drew blood. I wasn't as excited about volunteering--too many pitbulls.
Caroline doesn't care about make-up or the latest clothes. We tell her all the time how naturally beautiful she is. Even in this awkward stage, before braces and that final growth spurt, we want her to believe she is feminine and attractive for a lot of reasons.
From the time she was little she loved to dance and move. For a while, gymnastics was her big sport, but she has played almost every sport. She talks often about wanting to get a lacrosse scholarship to college. Without prompting, she will just put on her running shoes and go for a run. Not many twelve year olds have that kind of determination to stay fit. She can outrace me, and I thought I was fast! And this despite the fact she has exercised-induced asthma.
She has more insight about her inner workings than girls her age in general. Even today, I couldn't believe how perceptive she is about the reasons for her present depression, and her desire to be in a school instead of being homeschooled, and about her relationships with her sisters. I just sat there listening and thinking that she understands much more than I give her credit for. Sometimes I am quickly dismissive of her protestations and don't seek to simply understand and help her find solutions.
She is affectionate and adores her Daddy. She wants her sisters to like her and is very pained by the fact she has pushed them away with her outbursts. Although she fights continually with Elizabeth, her older sister, she does express love for her and a desire to have a future relationship with her. She is deeply hurt by Elizabeth's daily shunning of her. We are too.
I could go on. She has her daily ugly moments, but we see a bright future for her if she can conquer the demons of worthlessness and despair. Today she said she doesn't know that God really exists at all because of how much she has suffered. What do you say? I told her that God does exist and deeply cares for her, but she doesn't feel it or see it she says. But what about the parents He has given you, who will never reject you or turn away? Are we not an embodiment of God's tender concern for you? Still she is angry. I don't blame her. I struggle with anger also about all of the suffering in her life. I don't want to give her pat answers, but I won't quit speaking the truth in love.