Being the baby of the family brings with it freedom.
Poplar can stay up all night, drinking Zzzz juice and skilling.
If she wants to skip school, she can take a vacation day to stay home and skill.
She has four adults and a teen just waiting to read to her, play chess with her, coach her at swimming, and listen to her goofy stories.
Everybody cooks her favorite meals, so the fridge is full with something delicious whenever she feels hungry.
With two big sisters who are both A students and who both mastered two or more childhood aspirations, nobody is very impressed when Poplar brings home good grades or knocks off another milestone of one or another aspiration, but there’s freedom in that, too.
When you can excel without anybody paying attention, it puts the focus on the joy of doing something well, rather than the reward of getting praise, and that brings with it an intrinsic freedom.
Living in a household with so many beautiful, strong, accomplished, and skillful women, it’s just natural that Poplar will be all those things. That’s just what it means to be a Bough woman.
Ironwood, as the other hot head in the family, has been able to provide a special style of mentoring to Poplar.
“You can express your emotions, baby,” I-dub told Poplar, “without hurting anybody. Painting’s a good way to do that.”
I-dub shows her, too, that even hot heads can have life-long friendships with relatives. I-dub and his cousin Kamden remain close friends, sharing many conversations the way old friends like to do.
Poplar’s biggest sister is teaching her not to take herself, or her goals, overly seriously.
After graduation, Aspen decided to try out the athletic career. It fits her image, somehow, even if she starts out as a mascot in a goofy costume.
Poplar’s BFF is still Madrona, who is showing the example of leading with the heart.
And of course, Aunt Willow provides the specific type of mentoring that only a successful, creative, beautiful, confident single aunt can offer.
And Linda Noel, who combines sweetness and strength, is a mom that provides what every little girl wants: love, nurturing, support, humor, and lots of mom-daughter selfies.
Life’s pretty sweet when you’re the third child and everybody is there, ready to love and support you as you grow up to be the you that you want to be.