I’m aware that my daughter, Elsa, won’t always sit on my lap during church. She won’t always have stickers of little hearts to stick on my hand as we sit during the sermon.
I’m aware I won’t always go back to lead the end of worship with sticky, glittery hearts still sticking to my hand. But I did this Sunday.
I’m aware that she won’t always be three years old. But she is today. She’s very much three; delightful and demanding.
I’m aware that she won’t always parade around the house in her princess costumes. But she did yesterday and she will today. She was Snow White for five hours last night, even at my parents’ house for dinner.
I’m aware she won’t always wake up in the wee hours of the morning and come wake me up. But she did last night and will for many nights to come.
I’m aware she won’t always walk down the hallway in the morning in her pink nightgown and immediately ask if the Smurfs are on TV. But she often does and did today.
I’m aware she won’t always sit at her kid-sized table in the kitchens and bark commands at her mother about what she wants for breakfast. But she is right now, even as I type.
I’m aware she won’t always need to constantly be reminded to say ‘please’ and speak kindly. But I’m reminding her right now.
I’m aware she won’t always go to Nanny’s for the afternoon to have ice cream, cereal and chocolate milk for lunch and then ice cream again as a snack. But she did yesterday.
I’m aware someday she’ll be able to say an ‘s’ in a word much better than she can now. She won’t always go a day each week to speech therapy like she’s about to start doing. Some day she’ll feel an embarrassed stigma at having to get special help from people like speech therapists but she doesn’t right now. She just thinks she has her own teacher and a special, important class each week. I dread her having to see things differently some day. She’ll have her ‘s’ by then but we’re all embarrassed of ourselves in some ways we can’t help.
I’m aware she won’t always live here under my direct protection. I’ll always protect her by my influence and presence but not always by my control.
I’m aware that one night in the future will be the final night she sleeps under my roof by my choice. She may still come home to sleep by her choice: from college, from trips, from her house. But it won’t be by my choice though it will be to my joy. Over the years to come, life will more and more become her choice; less and less my choice.
I’m aware I must choose her now so she’ll choose me later. I think I’ll get to it on this lovely, snowy Tuesday.