Friday, February 21, 2014

To Lorraine, on your eleventh birthday

“Mom, look, I’m almost as tall as you are!” you smiled as we walked home from school, your brown eyes dancing. And I caught your eye, and I saw the twinkle there, and the way your hair falls, and the warmth and loveliness and hope spilling out of you.

You’re not “cute” any longer. You’re beautiful.

You wear a big smile as you twirl in the dress you love, the one that flares.  Your bare feet move with your suddenly-smooth legs.  You still like to dance with your mother, but suddenly, I’m not so sure I wanted to pass on that “party gene.”

But, it’s too late to take it back, and so, we dance.

It has been a good week for heart connections, thanks to our shopping date, and evening book time, and those shared eye-rolls in the kitchen.  I still have a place in my daughter’s heart, and I treasure it. I will elbow and wrestle and fight to keep it.  I will even throw parties and listen to pop songs.

I am in your heart as you are in mine, but the truth is, I don’t always know what I am doing there.  Life is getting more complicated as the days pass, and there are new things to worry about, new reasons to pray.

I want to do more praying, and less lecturing (not no lecturing, of course, but less.)  I want to be the kind of mom who helps you know you are seen and heard and loved.

On your birthday evening, after the boys went to bed, we snuggled in front of a movie. You asked me to play with your hair, and I was happy to do so while you fell asleep on me. Has it really been eleven years? I remember our first snuggle in bed-- the large hospital bed, which daddy shared with me that first night so we could have more time to just stare at you.

It struck me last night-- eleven years from now, you will be 22. Our time together, like this, you in my house and in my arms-- it's more than halfway over. I can't even imagine what life will look like then.

This morning during family devotions we talked about God's plans and our plans. I told you how I'd once wanted to be a teacher, and daddy pointed the way God does use me to teach even now, even though I don't have a teaching “job” like I might have imagined. And I only vaguely remember my plans--how clear and sure they seemed for a moment, and how they changed with the wind. God's plans were not mine, but they were so much better.

And even as I say those words to you, I know you don't fully understand. You will have to learn this in your own way, as God destroys your own plans and remakes them for you, for your good; as He proves His faithfulness and goodness to you, over and over again as you grow up in Christ.

And He will grow me up, too, so that someday I can let you go away from me, and deeper into Him.

I hope I get a front row seat, even eleven more years from now.

I can hardly imagine how lovely you will be then, dear daughter. God is doing a beautiful work in You.   
May He shower His goodness on you in the years to come.

....and also, keep dancing.



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