I hear it in her speech, the way she phrases things, the inflection that rolls off certain words and the slight drawl that shows her southern roots. She sounds just like me and hand on her hip with lips pursed she looks like me too.
She is the spitting image of her father, with his long, dark lashes framing her wide eyes and hands that look as though they were cloned right from his but it is my mold shaping her. It is me that she watches, listens, models in these long daytime hours.
If this sweet scrutiny is going to shape her character then I want my motherhood to be a gift to her.
I want to leave her with a legacy, so that one day when she remembers me she might say these things about her mother:
1.) She pursued her passions – It is early when the alarm sounds, so early that I misjudge the salt for sugar as I pour out the first cup of coffee and that was bitter mistake. I could linger longer in the sheets, curled up under the covers, but my dreams live in pen and ink rather than nestled in my pillows. So while she sleeps, I write. Because one day I will tell her that she should follow hard after God-sized dreams and I want her to see me living out what I say in faith. I catch her sitting on top of the dining room table, knees tucked under and tiny fingers clicking away on the keyboard. “I writing wike you, Mommy” she says through her giggles. Then she tries to jump off, because she also thinks that she is Buzz Lightyear, and I catch her mid-air, wrapping my arm around to land her to safety, the way He catches us when we leap.
2.) She risked herself on love - I’m frustrated and clench my fists and the words tumble out too quick, biting. Walking down the aisle in white was easy, I nearly ran towards that man standing at the end of it, pace tempered only by my father’s arm. Eight years on and more worse than we anticipated when we said “For better or.” The marriage is both beautiful and bitter, this daily living out of vows. And we work to breathe life in to it, to keep us whole, to move towards the better. “The greatest of these is love” says the Good Book but you have to risk your heart to know it. She catches us kissing around the corner and shrieks but I hope one day she knows we kept a grasp on this covenant even when we wanted to board it all over.
3.) She knew her worth – Maybe all else will fail, falling short of all my hopeful expectations. Maybe the winds of change will sweep through and my circumstances will crumble. I do not know what will be but I do know that my worth is not found in any set of situations or perceived value assigned by society. My worth is founded in grace, unshakeable. This is my constant, this boundless gift of grace.
I want many things for her, my daughter.
But when she thinks of her mother I hope that she sees a woman who lives out a life rooted in grace that tells a wild love story.
Because “these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)