back when brooke was 2, there was a photo contest in a shop at the mall. i thought she was the cutest lil 2 yr old on earth & decided she could probably win in spite of the mullet that had grown in once her hair stopped doing the weird rooster thing. there was an application that i downloaded & filled out before going in so i wouldn't have to do it at the photo store.
there was one blank that i just couldn't seem to fill in. it said, "using only one word, describe your child." i was completely stumped. i ran through my list of nice, kiddish adjectives - cute, cheerful, affectionate, adorable, friendly, energetic, bouncy, loud, gentle, perky, ticklish, giggly, loving, shy, flexible, wacky, impish, wonderful.... some of those could apply, but none of them summed brooke up. none seemed just right. so then i felt compelled to come up with words that did describe brooke - focused, smart, mad, (one of her favorite phrases around then was, "i'm so ANGRY!!!") boyish, frustrating, quirky, surprising, challenging, motivated, vegetarian, articulate. somehow none of those words seemed like what the people at the kids photo shop were looking for. none seemed like the word they'd like to include in their ad campaign alongside a picture of a really cute kid. i finally settled on INTENSE because it was the only honest word i could come up with that seemed to describe my little mulleted 2 yr old in a nutshell.
somehow it bothered me that i couldn't classify her honestly with a cutesy kind of word. but then i realized that she is her own person (this wasn't the first time i'd realized it, but it returned with clarity, once again) and intensity is something that will serve her well throughout her life. she's extremely focused & driven when it's one of her topics of interest and when it comes to having a career or getting through college or pursuing a hobby, she will be way further ahead than me because i'm so distractable. i'm more interested in finding someone to talk to or a book to read or a computer game to play or how i need to fix that chip in my toenail polish than i am in actually accomplishing something. i am not a go-getter or self starter in most of the areas of my life, so this thing with brooke is foreign to me. i admire it and sometimes wish that i had a piece of it, but i don't understand or relate to it.
we went to the picture place & got the pics done & the whole time, brooke stared at the camera with a completely blank look on her face. she wouldn't smile. wouldn't smirk. wouldn't even move her eyes around. the photographer was young & inexperienced & seemed to be at a loss for what to do with my zombie child. she kept snapping pics, but they all looked the same. sometimes her body was in a slightly different position because the photographer would move her this way or cross her arms that way, but still, no expression. when it was over, i was sweaty & frustrated & i refused to even buy one. we had a coupon for a free sitting & 8x10 that we took home & refused to put up. it's sitting at my in-laws house, displayed on a shelf where every time i look at it, i feel like i'm looking at a robot version of my girl. someone invaded her body & temporarily switched her brain off so that there was no one looking out through her eyes. needless to say, my borg child did not win the contest.
i kept my frustration to myself over that pesky one word description business for probably a couple years. at some point, i asked chris if he could describe brooke in one word. he thought about it for a minute & then said, "intense." holy crap! it's not just me and even a couple years later, she was still holding strong to her course of intensity. i guess it's all that focus keeping her consistent. a few months ago i was talking to my dad about how brooke is so unique & interesting (this was after he and my mom had just taken her on vacation for a week without me) and he was agreeing with me. i asked him if could sum her up with one word and.... you guessed it, he said, "intense."
i love my intense, driven, tightly wound, hilarious girl with all my heart and soul. or as she would put it, as big as saturn and all the way down to my butt.