Last year I wrote 21 Things on this daughter’s birthday. Yes, today is my second daughter’s 22nd birthday and I have thought about her all day long.
I woke in the early hours of the morning. The upstairs was dark and quiet and shadows fell across the hall floor from the bathroom light. The dogs shuffled in their crates hoping I would let them out early so they could race to their food bowls. This morning I passed them. I walked down the dark stairs running my hand along the wall to feel my way. I always have to guide myself early in the morning. My ankle isn’t too pleased about alternating steps when I first rise, so the wall gives me a little more confidence.
I moved to my computer left on the coffee table overnight; I wanted to log on Facebook to wish my daughter her first happy birthday of the day. I didn’t get that honor; I forget that her generation is up way past the hour of midnight, and her page was peppered with wishes. I sent my wishes via message and then started my day.
And all day she has been laced into my thoughts—memories and vignettes of this now woman. A woman—grown. But she was my baby once. A tiny thing with snow white hair and vividly blue eyes and skin a shade just above alabaster. From the beginning she made her presence known to the world. I didn’t have to announce she had arrived. And this morning I thought about how I swaddled her and held her close to me right up next to the curve of my neck. For a few minutes I hold her there in my memory—remembering the sweet baby scent of her, recalling the steel independence of her, reminiscing the limitless compassion of her and reveling in the blessing of her.
These are not just memories of her.
When I feel my compassion flagging and moving to weary she will tell me a story of a little boy downtown and her passion fans to flame something in me I have misplaced.
My own independence has often been pocked with weak spots and lack of grit, but I have been challenged watching her take on the world that is hers with a bold fierceness.
There are days when I have whispered prayers requesting something, anything, to reveal His presence to me, something to remind me he’s near and he hears. Some days his answer has been a call or message from this daughter of mine. And the blessing of her is nourishing and rich.
I will walk back up those stairs tonight, back through the shadowy hall. I will lie down to sleep, but before I do I will bless my God for today.
I will thank him for the gift he sent.
I will thank him for her.