Today is the birthday of my oldest child, Janna Caroline. 5’3”, eyes of blue, a dark cloud of lustrous, shiny hair framing her pretty face, she’s a young woman with many gifts.
Always perceptive even as a small child, Carrie has the ability to size up a person within a few minutes. I’m not talking about being judgmental but rather about getting a sense of the person’s personality and “spirit.” Can the person be trusted? Is he a bad guy…or gal? If you ever meet her and feel those pretty blues staring at you, watch out; she’s trying to “get your number.” At this moment, I’m looking at a pencil sketch of Carrie, Elizabeth, and me that hangs in my dining room. Carrie was 3 years old. I recall remarking to the woman who drew it that she looked so intense, and the artist declared, “That’s because she is.”
Carrie has a great personality, too. Extroverted and generally upbeat and smiling, she’s been a talker and charmer since Day 1. I recall many times on the beach when she’d wave to passers-by and then look at me with puzzlement if the strand walker didn’t wave back. At that time in her young life, it didn’t occur to her that perhaps the person hadn’t seen her. If Carrie saw him or her, she figured the person saw her. Piaget would describe that charming attribute as childhood egocentrism, not because she was stuck on herself but because she was unable to see things from another’s perspective. But I digress.
Here’s another example of her charm and friendliness. When she was 5 years old, the principal of her preschool stopped me one afternoon and said, “The best thing you can do for your little girl is to teach her that you need more than a pretty smile to get through life.” Thank you very much, Mrs. McBride, for your unsolicited advice!! Actually, smiling can give you a good start and open a lot of doors. Plus,a smile is sort of a universal language that’s understood everywhere. Of course, there are many different types of smiles, but that’s the topic for another day.
Carrie’s always been able to think through things, determine exactly what she wanted, and then go for it. After graduating from CCU, she moved to Georgetown and then on to Charleston. Why? Because of the adventure and because she had decided it was time to get married. She wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the best, and to her the best was an LDS young man with values like her own. In Charleston, there was a much better chance to find Prince Charming than in G’town. I’ve always thought it interesting that she and Rich moved to the same area at the same time. She met him at church one summer evening about nine years ago, and well, the rest is history.