Not all those who wander are lost.

Vi Presento Lea – La Leona

Oh Lea. Her mother calls her Leona because she has the spirit of a lion. Strong willed and intense, she is the most stubborn child I have ever known. Any battle will be lost if she digs in her heels, so you best avoid battles at all cost.

One day, in an effort to get her out the door against her will, we tried to play the “Bye Lea, see you later” game…the one where you pretend to leave and after a few seconds the child comes running to you in fear of being left behind. Our whole family left the house, said “Ciao Lea, a dopo” and climbed into the car. We made a big production out of starting the car and even drove down the street a little way. Most 5-year olds at this point would be in hysteria. Not Lea. We had to turn the car around, drive back up the hill, and when we arrived back at the house, she was right where we left her. Sitting on a stair, calm and strong. I must admit that I am relieved I will not living here when she enters adolescence, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Lea had a nasty broken shin and was in week 5 of the 3-month recovery when I arrived. But you better believe that cast doesn’t slow her down. She still hops, skips, runs, and jumps with her sisters. She climbs to the top of any jungle gym at a park.

She runs through sprinklers, frolics in the sea, and swims in her cousin’s swimming pool, with her cast carefully wrapped in a garbage bag and tape to prevent the moisture from entering. We have no other option – once the other kids have their swimsuits on, Lea is going in too…regardless of the doctor’s orders. I see a lot of my sister, Madeleine, in her. Weird, they are both third in a 4-child family. Note to family planners: beware of the spirit of the third child.

The thing that is most incredible about this little one is that when she is not in some form of battle, she is the softest, sweetest, most gentle little girl. Lea loves to cuddle, always shares her gelato and makes me feel like the most beautiful woman on earth any time I wear something she hasn’t seen before. “Wow Mamma, guarda Kadreen. E’ bellissima.” (wow mommy, look at Katherine, she is so beautiful)…simply because today I put on earrings or a new skirt. Seriously, the innocent compliment of a child can boost self-confidence ten fold.

I know I am not supposed to have favorites, but Lea is mine.

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