An Interview with Emily

Emily will be 17 on May 28th.  That is factually true.  However, in my mind, she is still my little four year-old pretty princess in a pink party dress with a matching hair bow, sticking very close to me.  I can still see her light blond bobbed hair and her big blue eyes looking right at me.  It seems like yesterday.  But now she is technically a senior in high school and she has very strong opinions about many things.  One thing she feels particularly strongly about is the lack of blog time she receives.  She does not understand why I do not devote more time to writing about her.  So, in honor of her upcoming birthday, I interviewed Emily.  This is our interview.


What is your fondest childhood memory?


Emily: That’s a hard one.  I have so many.  One would have to be when I got my frog rain boots.  I really loved those.  I also really liked playing the “pillow game” with Matthew.  I was really excited when Grandma Dianne pulled out my pink Cadillac toy car on Christmas, too.  I have so many.  It’s hard to pick!


Me: Oh my goodness!  This makes me so happy!  You just looked off in space with a big smile and I could tell you were playing through good memories in your mind.  That’s what I have always wanted as a mother.  To fill the lives of my children with so many good memories that they just can’t pick one.  That moment was probably one of MY best moments ever!


If you could have dinner with any person, who would you choose?


Emily: Grandma Annis.  I can tell you right now, any question you ask me about a person- I’m going to choose Grandma Annis.  She will always be my favorite person.  Sorry.  She’s just my person.  Maybe you are Colt’s person.  (Colt is our cat.)


Me: It’s true.  Grandma Annis was your person.  I already knew this.  


Okay.  If you could have dinner with any living person, who would you choose?


Emily: Harry Styles


Me: I am not sure where I rate on your list.  


What is your proudest moment?


Emily: I don’t know if I can say it.  Is it okay to say?  Is it okay to say recovering from an eating disorder?


Me: YES!!!!!!  You should be so proud!  You fought the fight of a lifetime.  You are an inspiration to others who are going through similar battles.  You should always share your story and always be proud.


If you were the President, what would you try to reform?


Emily: I would try to reform the foster care system.  There need to be more checks to ensure that the homes that children are sent to are safe and secure and that people are taking in children for the right reasons.  I am sad that some children age out in the system, having never been adopted into a family.


Me: I would vote for you.


What do you most admire about me?


Emily: Your strength.  No offense, but not your physical strength, you know.


Me: Yes, I know.  That’s funny, because I think you are the strong one.


What would you change about me?


Emily:  I wish you put yourself first more, instead of always worrying about everyone else.


Me: Hey!  I have gotten way better!  Thanks to you, I have put a real effort into changing my mental and physical health.  I may have a way to go, but I am proud of how far I have come.  


What would you change about yourself?


Emily: I wish I didn’t have to take medicine to be happy.


Me: Well, that breaks my heart.  Depression medicine does not make you happy.  It lifts the depression so that you can be happy again.  The happiness you feel does not come from medicine.  It comes from you.


Describe yourself in three words.


Emily: empathetic, workaholic, stubborn


Me: I would have added compassionate, kind, thoughtful, smart, insightful….


What is your best attribute?


Emily: My ability to love all people, regardless of who they are and what they do.


Me: Agreed


Who do you most admire and why?


Emily: Grandma Annis because she was the kindest person I ever knew.  Even though she was in such pain, she was always happy.


Me: I walked right into that one.


Where would you most like to visit?


Emily: Greece.  I want to go there on my senior trip because it’s pretty.


Me: Yep. So far, you have stuck with this.  You and me in Greece!  I can’t wait!!


What will your life look like in ten years?


Emily: I will be a third grade teacher at South Elementary in Jackson.  I will be in the process of adopting a child, but I won’t be married.


Me: That’s very specific.  


What is your most embarrassing moment?


Emily: I was working at the car wash and a guy came through and asked me if I was “legal.”  I told him yes.  He gave me an unsure look and continued to question me about it.  I assured him that I was, indeed, legal.  When his car started through the wash, my coworker asked me why I had told the guy I was legal.  I said I was legal, I was born in Cape Girardeau.  The co-worker busted out laughing.  Apparently, “legal” meant 18, not a legal citizen of the USA.  I thought the guy thought I was from Scandinavia.  


Me: That is one of my favorite Emily stories.


What is your favorite thing about yourself?


Emily: my fashion sense


Me: I would have gone with your compassion for others, but you do dress nicely.


How do you describe our family to others?


Emily: I describe us as the perfect cookie-cutter family.  Nice, white, middle-class family who lives in a brick house on a cul de sac.  We go to church.  Mom’s in the education field. We have pets. Parents are still married.  We all have our own bedrooms.


Me: I’m not sure this is cookie-cutter.  It may have been in the 1950s.  I don’t think it is now.  I think it is fairly rare.


What is your worst fear?


Emily: Failure.  I’m afraid of failing and disappointing people.


Me: Failure is a very common fear.  But I always try to think about what will happen if I do fail.  It will be horrible, but that will pass.  It won’t be horrible forever.  I will get past it.  I have failed many times.  I will fail many more.  It’s not great, but life goes on.  People who would be disappointed with you for doing something that happens to everyone are not the kind of people you need in your life.  You will never disappoint me by trying something and failing.  That’s how you learn.


What’s the most important lesson I ever taught you?


Emily: It’s hard to describe.  Remember when I was sick and you just kept telling me to keep praying because God hears you no matter what?


Me: Yes,  I remember.  When you were in the grips of your eating disorder, you were often crying inconsolably or yelling, and I never really knew if you were actually listening to anything I said.  But in the years since then, I have heard you repeat so many of the things I said to you.  You were listening.  I don’t think you could process everything at the time, but you did hear me.  I told you that even though you didn’t feel God anymore and you didn’t think you deserved Him anymore, you could still pray to Him.  He was still there.  We might not understand why He was letting you suffer, but He was still with us.  Pray for Him to help you.  And He did.  


I enjoyed interviewing Emily so much.  I sat with her and looked into her big blue eyes.  They look just like they did when I held her for the first time seventeen years ago.  I know I am no Grandma Annis, but I am very lucky to be her mom.  

1 thought on “An Interview with Emily”

  1. Emily, thank you for being an inspiration to others by sharing your journey. You are a very strong person with a lot of love to give away. Yes, you brought much joy to grandma Annis through your visits. You have received back what you gave away. Grandma Annis has always been a strong and caring person. She will always be very special. May al your dreams come troe. Love you much.

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