I don't know what, specifically, has gone so right in Penny's upbringing, but there are times when she exhibits a pure, generous nature that's so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.
Last night, I took Alex upstairs to get ready for bed, and ducked into my room to drop something off and discovered that Penny had made the bed, laid out my pyjamas on the covers, and left three notes, two at the bottom corners of the bed, and one on my pillow. The ones at the bottom of the bed were "coupons" for her to do the dishes and make dinner; the one on my pillow said, "I love you very much, Liz." (Using my name instead of "Mom" because last night she was pretending to be a fairy who had never heard of this "Penny" person I kept referring to.")
And if that wasn't sweet enough, when I went into Alex's room to help him change into his pyjamas, I saw she'd done the same thing for him, though his notes were lined up on his pillow. One read, "I love you very much, Alex," and the other was a coupon for "caring for you more".
How incredibly sweet is that?
And for the second example, I took her to Charming Charlie this morning to use the gift card she'd gotten for her birthday. And to give her some space to look around, I took Alex across the street to Bath and Body Works. We wandered around a while, and I didn't rush things, because Penny often has trouble making up her mind.
When we got back to Charming Charlie, we found Penny at the register, fretting over her purchases. She had, quite naturally, way overspent. She had some of her own money with her, but not enough. The saleslady told me she was up to $90, and she only had a $50 gift card.
"Sorry," I told her. "You're going to have to put some things back." I looked at the array of accessories. "...Why are you buying three watches?"
"I wanted to get one for me and one for you and one for Alex."
Oh. Well. Never mind that I don't wear watches and Alex can't even tell time. She was going to spend some of her own birthday money on presents for me and her brother. I wanted to kiss her right there in the store. I think the saleslady got a little misty.
(As it turned out, once we put the watches she'd picked for Alex and me back, she was less than $5 over her limit, well within her cash budget.)
These are the moments that offer me glimpses into the future, that make me already proud of the lovely, kind-hearted, generous woman she's going to become.