The Wisdom of a 9-year-old

I have talked quite a bit about my neighbour’s granddaughter who recently stayed with us for a couple of weeks. I will call her Emma. I have known Emma since she was a toddler, about a year old. I have watched her and her sister grow up before my eyes and think the world of both of them.

Emma has always been bright and beyond her years; however, that has never been more apparent than in the last while with the illness and passing of her grandmother, my dear neighbour and friend.

While she is every much the typical 9-year-old, happy to watch cartoons and kid shows, colour and draw, or go run outside with her friends, she has a quality you don’t expect at that age.

I had made the decision not to see my friend at the hospital for two reasons – I wanted the family to have this time with her and I wanted to remember her in the good times. However, when she passed, I found myself not able to picture her in my mind or hear her voice. This saddened me beyond just losing her physically and I realized it might come out of guilt for not being there for her. I didn’t voice this to anyone, including Emma. However, she was over the other evening and all of a sudden pulled out some pictures of her grandmother in the hospital and asked if I would like to see them because I didn’t get to be with her. I had to hold back tears but they were not for what I saw in those pictures but for the wisdom of this young person to anticipate a need in me. Even though they depicted my friend not at her best, memories poured out and I can now “see” her and hear her laughter as we chatted at her table many times.

Yesterday I had Kay’s two kids for a few hours and I asked Emma if she would like to “babysit”. Often if I have the two of them together she is a big help looking after them and I pay her. When we picked them up they kept asking if she would be there and when she arrived they would not leave her alone. She seemed to be loving it. She has such a way with young children, much like I did at her age. I was feeling quite fatigued and the help was really appreciated. She knows exactly what to do or say to get them to pick up their toys, eat their food and just behave.

I feel that God has put Emma in my life for a lot of reasons and I also believe I have a purpose in hers. She may be wise, but is also still a typical youngster who can try to stretch boundaries. She is teaching me how to be a friend and an “adult figure” at the same time which helps so much in dealing with the younger two.

Last night she came over and watched “Guardians Of The Galaxy” with my hubby and I. We had all seen it before in the theatre but it was fun to share it with her as she would point out certain parts and giggle through them (Baby Groot at the end was her favourite!). Sharing “The Princess Bride” with her for the first time was also a really fun time last week.

While we were making popcorn, the beautiful locket that her grandmother gave her for Christmas broke. She fell into my arms crying deeply and I struggled to console her. Hubby got it from her and in minutes had it fixed better than before. She instantly gained composure and returned to the task at hand. If only we adults could learn from this instead of holding things inside.

Emma allows me to laugh, cry, be a parent when needed, and love a child. Kay’s youngsters have also played a huge part in me being able to deal with my physical and mental issues. They, and all the other “kids” God has put in my life have been a true blessing. I think of my “boys” who are all grown up now – one in university and the other graduating this year. I have known them all their lives and during tough parts in mine. Having the privilege of watching them grow into such fine young men is something I will never take for granted.


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