My youngest daughter is a wild one. She loves to just run around. Sing out loud. Throw out all the toys on the floor and play. Climb the monkey bars. Slide down head first. Just do what slightly wilder kids do. Be wild. Be kids. Oh, and not concentrate on what you have to say if it is in the way of her jumping of the edge hoping you will catch her. Yeah, she is a wild one.

She is not naughty. She doesn’t break things or hit kids or throw tantrums. She’s just a little girl who likes to have fun and laugh. Slightly wild, but we only pick up on it because her older sister so different. that in is Miss Mellow.

Our older daughter is more level headed. Everything must be perfect. Her room is the tidiest room in the house. And we don’t touch it. I irritate her by jumping on her bed. (Yes, we all wonder who are the real kids in our house.) She is the hard working student and it shows in her school results. She just loves school. She dances 5 days a week and plays the saxophone. She plays with one toy at a time while her sister throws all the toys on the floor. And she is a deeply caring kid who always have time for others. Always the one who hold their hands or sits with the new kid in class.

They are different kids. But they are also the same.

The little one went apple picking last Monday. It was a school trip. A few mothers were asked to go with and help with the kids. We gave the little on “the speech” before she left. “Listen to what you minder have to say. Be polite and be nice. Don’t just run off screaming like a mad thing.” She nodded her head and said, “Yes daddy. Yes mommy.” I wasn’t so sure she listened. She was about to jump off the chair while I was talking…

They were in groups of three. One minder for three kids. We just hoped she will listen and not drive the poor woman crazy. And off they went…

Afterward the woman who looked after our little one came up to my wife to “debrief” her. (“Oh what has she done?” must have crossed my wife’s mind at the time.) And the woman said…

“Your daughter is the nicest, sweetest and most caring kid I have ever met”.

Apparently the little one walked next to her the whole time. And even though she is the youngest in her class, she helped other kids up the ladders, helped them pick apples, made way for them to go first and looked after anyone who looked unhappy or who hurt a knee or elbow. The woman said she was just the perfect little girl and more. And that she went up to a little girl who was missing her mommy and said, “Don’t worry. Your mommy will be waiting for you when we get back. She loves you very much. Now lets have some fun and pick some apples”. She was the little girl who cared. Not once did the minder even have to think about our little one. She was always around and always polite.

She didn’t jump off the edge once. Most likely spoke the hind leg off a donkey, but still. She was the perfect little girl and so much more.

And when they got back to school she went up to the woman and gave her a big hug to say good bye. No one asked. No one told her to do it. She just went up to the woman and said, “I am going to miss you”. The lady said she felt like crying. Because of this sweet little girl.

She does that often. Give hugs to people. If we know them or speak to them she trusts them and want to give them a hug. We think it is a good thing that she does it without checking with us first or us telling her to do so. Love and caring should come naturally. Ubuntu – It’s like breathing… Remember?

When I got home she ran up to me to tell me about the apple picking. Her little bag with 7 or 8 apples. But she didn’t just show me. She showed me the apple she got for me. And the apple she got for mom. And the apple she got for her sister. “You can eat it at work when you get hungry daddy.”

The school teacher told my wife that the little one is just the most caring little girl in class. Always there to sit with someone who is crying. She can be heard saying, “Don’t worry, your mommy and daddy loves you very much and they will come to fetch you after school.” She sits with the kids who feel lonely or just a little sad. And the little kid who fell while playing. She looks after them. The youngest of them all.

My wife wasn’t feeling to well these last few days. But I had to go to work. And then take the oldest one to the library to stock up on some books. Guess what the little one did? She stayed in the room with her mom and read her stories. And gave her wet facecloths to wipe her face with. She looked after her mom while there was no one else in the house. She’s five.

A few nights ago we were watching the news. And they had this story on of this family who is living out of their car. A father, mother and 3 little boys. The husband lost his job because of the construction industry being in a slump. His wife worked as a waitress and didn’t earn enough for them to survive. They lost their home and their possessons. So they packed the car and drove to San Diego. Hoping for a better life. And they are still waiting. Looking for jobs during the day. Their kids get a meal at the school they attend. The little one goes to daycare for kids of homeless parents. They wash and brush their teeth at the toilets on the beach. She cooks on a little camping stove at night. They sleep in their car because the centre that take in homeless families don’t have any space open at the moment. But they can catch a warm shower there. The car is a bit cramped at the back, but at least the boys are small…  And during the day they hunt for jobs and pawn their wedding rings to feed the kids.

My wife started crying. I didn’t notice it at first. But I saw my little one get up and walk over to her and ask, “Are you okay mommy?” She lied, “I’m fine my girl. I’ll be fine.” We are never fine when we know this. And my wife looked at me and said, “These are not lazy people. They haven’t done anything where they blew their chances. Or blew their money. These are decent, decent people. They are trying everything to stay on the right path. Just look at those three little boys they have. They are a decent family. How can people just stand by and look on and do nothing?”

We got up and were standing in the kitchen talking about it when our little one came in. She had some plastic flowers in her one hand and her favourite toy in her other hand. She held it out to my wife.

“Here mom. I love you. This will make you feel better.”

She kept on coming back to check if my wife is okay. No one asked. No one encouraged her. But she does this often. Giving us flowers when we look sad or down. Giving us a hug and a kiss when it looks like we are not smiling enough or really smiling at all. Giving us plastic flowers and toys.

Yeah. She’s a wild one all right.

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