I didn’t notice Anna standing to the side, out of the way of her older brother and sister.
I didn’t notice because I was in the middle of a game where I’d kick a soccer ball towards Luca and Lincoln. Whoever caught the ball scored a point with the opportunity of earning another point by kicking it back to me in a fashion where I could catch it.
It’s not uncommon for Luca and Lincoln to drag me into one of their games. Their favorite games are those I make up on the spot and modify over time when one of them takes advantage of a loophole in the rules.
Such was the game last night.
We played for a while until Kim called to me. She mentioned that Anna was feeling left out.
And that’s when it hit me: I hadn’t noticed her.
Anna is our peacemaker. She’s the first to give up a toy, get off the computer or change the channel if one of her siblings asks. Or complains. Or demands.
Anna longs for the approval of her older brother and sister that she often put their desires before her own. She can be goofy. Maybe a bit out in left field at times. But she’s sweet. She wants nothing more than to be involved in whatever her older siblings are doing.
I asked Anna to join Lincoln and Luca on the grass. I kicked the ball to each of them over the next 30 minutes. Anna didn’t catch the ball a single time. I’m sure it was difficult to watch her sister and brother make catching look easy. But she never complained. When the ball would bounce off her hands or shoulder, she ran after it with a smile on her face.
Kim and I are protective out of little peacemaker. She’s big for her age and hasn’t quite grown into her body. What she lacks in coordination, she makes up for in spirit and enthusiasm.
When I tucked the girls in bed last night, Anna was wide awake. She sleeps on the bottom bunk making it more difficult to reach. But tonight she lunged towards me with open arms. As she gave me a hug she said,
“Dad, I was really good at kicking tonight, huh?”
“Yep, you were great”
“I’m going to practice so next time you kick the ball, I will catch it”.
Every home should have a peacemaker.