We Campbells live in a thriving rural metropolis.
Nestled on the outer eastern edge of the once-vibrant technology town of Rochester, NY—R.I.P. Kodak—our town is home to nearly seven thousand people of various ilk. This is the place to be if you want to experience cultural, ethnic, religious, and economic diversity. We’ve got it all!
But for some reason, Kirstie decided this week that she wants to live in NYC.
“I am going to live in New York City some day,” she proudly announced to her Mom. “I just really want to live up high in the air, overlooking the city,” she explained to her Dad.
Neither Mom nor Dad can even stand the thought of visiting the Big City, so the expressed hopes and dreams of our seven-soon-to-be-eight year old daughter were (more than) somewhat repulsive to us. “New York City, eh?” we slowly pondered a loving response, “Well, that’s a long time from now, so we’ll see what God has in store when that time comes.”
(We were at least partially, and quite deftly, employing the fine art of deflecting/distracting from/deferring the less than desirable, far-off dreams of young children.)
Fast-forward to bed time.
It was a very windy night. This strangely warm winter has seen a few brief cold spells, and each time they’ve come, they were ushered in by a fierce wind. This night’s wind was particularly powerful—and noisy!
As I was hugging and kissing the girls, tucking each under their warm, fuzzy blankets, I could tell that the wind was very much on their minds. The house was creaking and various scraping noises could be heard on the street outside as sundry items were dragged great distances against their will by the forceful gusts.
“God,” I began, “Please protect this room tonight and its inhabitants from anything that might harm them in this wind.” I started to go into detail about what things God could protect us from, but at the first break in my thoughts I was interrupted.
“Do you think there could be a tornado?” Kirsten asked, with a hint of real concern in her voice.
“No, Kirstie,” I reassured her, “There really aren’t any tornadoes here where we live. It’s pretty crazy, but pretty cool, huh?”
The three girls nodded, and verbally affirmed my mostly rhetorical question.
A moment later, after giving some thought to what I had said, Kirsten asked, “Are there tornadoes in New York City?”
Jumping at the chance, I quickly replied, with great conviction in my voice, “Oh yes! There are always tornadoes in New York City. Really bad ones! All the time!!”
“Dad!” Kirstie scolded, in the way only Kirstie can do. Her twinkling eyes looked up and met my big, silly-Dad smile.
I was still smiling at my innocent, yet clever, yet loving jab at my oldest daughter’s earlier proclamation, when the brief silence was interrupted by her younger sister, Julia.
“I am never going to live there!” she said in her very tiny, very matter-of-fact tones.
Caught a bit off guard, I enjoyed a deep belly laugh—we all did!—and then I gave Julia a big hug and said, “That’s my girl!”
If you know Julia, you know that this was perfect is so many ways! She knows what she wants, and she just says it!
I love seeing the personalities of our kids shine through, even at the earliest ages. Julia is a very “black-and-white” person; very matter of fact. And she’s incredibly cute! That response was just quintessential Julia, far beyond what I can relay in a few sentences.
I don’t know if we swayed Kirstie any that night, but we all did have a great laugh. She might still be on a mission to live in the big city. Or not. Time will tell.
But one thing’s for sure: Julia is never gonna live there!