…that’s what children are capable of: creating freight train feelings in their parents with a bite of jello, with a single glance, with a sigh they make in sleep. (~From Elizabeth Berg’s Home Safe)
We stood together by the sink, my Bella-girl and I, snapping beans and talking about our day. I love her helpful heart. I love how much she enjoys working in the kitchen with me, and I love these moments. Some days I am clinging desperately to them knowing how quickly time passes.
As we worked side by side, our rhythm was flawless, hands moving in unison: reach, snap, break, toss. She would spontaneously burst into song, humming a bit beforehand.
“You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.”
“I’m alive and well, Your Spirit is within me, because You died and rose again.”
“Ancient words, ever true, changing me, changing you…”
I joined in each song and we belted them out full of joy and hope and peace.
In a quiet moment, I paused my rhythm to watch her, making my mental snapshot of this moment so it would be forever captured in my mind and heart. Red curls clinging to a sweaty forehead, pink skirt and flowered shirt that didn’t really match but it’s her favorite, bare feet with chipped toenail polish balancing on her stool, eyes sparkling and smeared lip gloss spreading up her cheek.
Suddenly she stopped, leaned her head against my arm and said dramatically, “Oh, Mother! (she’s been Wendy from Peter Pan these last few days) I love you so much!”
Yes, my heart melted right there into a little puddle on the floor.
“I love you, too, sweet girl, so, so much.”
She smiled up at me, “From my heart to your heart, I’ll love you forever. Even when we’re both dead, I’ll still love you in Heaven.”
I squeezed her tight, “Oh, Bella, isn’t it good to know love really is forever?”
She nodded, then tilted her head, “But, Mommy,” she raised her hand and held her thumb and forefinger centimeters apart, “I’ll love Jesus just a little bit more than I love you. Is that okay?”
I bundled that beautiful Bella-girl in my arms, “Little one, that’s what I want! I want you to love Him so much more. I want you to love Him with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.”
Because isn’t this what we’re raising them for? To shoot out our little arrows to serve Him?
We were sitting on the kitchen floor by this point, curled in each others’ arms, and I held her giving her back to Him in my heart as I must do every day.
I held her in that moment, but I let her go at the same time.
Thank you, Jesus, for beans to snap and songs to sing, for tangled curls and smeared lip gloss, for quiet moments and heart stirrings, for love shared and love returned. These days… these moments are all a gift from Your hand. May I never take them for granted.