I taught her to walk.
I'd been doing it for years. I bent low and held her tiny hand as she fought gravity, and I taught her how to win against gravity.
I can still remember how it felt to scoop her up after a fall, and the way it felt to carry her on my hip.
Before long, she learned to run, and she'd give me running hugs so strong she'd tip me over and we'd roll in the grass.
We share shoes now.
She's a half-size bigger than me.
I taught her to walk. Then God sent her other teachers: school teachers, piano teachers.
I might borrow those shoes, I think, as I watch her walk up to the piano for her first solo&ensemble performance.
She's been nervous all morning, but you wouldn't know it to look at her.
I have heard her practice this piece for weeks in our living room, in fits and starts, interrupted by brothers, too fast, too slow, and sometimes so loudly it inspired only a snappy "not right now!" from her mother.
I watch her, in awe.
I watch her, in awe.
Where did she get that talent, that beauty?
From her fingertips flows a melody soothing and cheerful, and I praise the God whose beauty she reflects.
"Bloom flower!" I have whispered in her ear, and now, she blooms.
The following Sunday:
She whispers to me after communion, "Mom, that's the last time daddy's going to bless me like that." Next time she's here, she will be confirmed.
"In the waters of your Baptism, Jesus has called you by name and promises to be with you always." Pastor-daddy has said this over her head for years, now, and Jesus has been with her.
Last times are sad and scary and wonderful. The last blessing, I think, the last blessing meant for children, that is. The baby blessing will be replaced by another, greater blessing. "Take and eat, this is my body given for you."
The childish blessing is put aside, not because it is no longer valid, but because God has more for her, and she is now big enough to contain the greater blessing. God, help me to remember this as I grieve the passing of childish things.
The flowers are blooming everywhere, and she blooms with them. Family and friends gather from near and far to celebrate. Her godparents, who remember her running hugs and hip-riding days, who have prayed for her and spoiled her even from far away, share in our joy at this thing God has done.
God has blessed her since she was little, since He called her by name. Now, she opens her own hands and embraces that blessing with her own heart.
There were Big Feelings on Pastor-daddy's face as he poured on her God's Bigger Blessing:
"Lorraine, the almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given you the new birth of water and of the Spirit and has forgiven you all your sins, strengthen you with His grace, to life everlasting. Amen."
God, strengthen her and keep her.
Strengthen her for the days to come,
the days of teenage struggles,
of high school,
of big feelings and big heartaches,
and hard lessons.
Be her Big Father,
be stronger than the world's attacks,
and brighter than the darkness she faces.
Be the solid ground in her changing world
and keep her safe in your unchanging love,
In the name of Jesus, Amen.