This is sacred ground we walk, and sometimes we crawl and sometimes we fall face down on the hardwood and beg Heaven’s help in this building of people.
We seldom wear shoes because they aren’t practical or often we just don’t have time to put them on. And it is right that this happens, because we tread tenacious and tired on tiles of holiness.
She calls me down the hallway on this her final day of competition after 13 years of twirling and leaping from tiny ballerina to graceful grownup.
“Want to put in the last bobby pin?”
My heart lurches and tears spring to my eyes and I swallow the mountain in my throat, make my way down the corridor where a Rose readies herself for the stage.
“Sure, honey.” I pin a strand sticking out from her bun like it was wondering when I would arrive, wrap my arms tight around her slender shoulders and lean against her back. She is taller than me, but only by a little. She is better than me by a lot.
I kiss the back of her neck and squeeze one more time and let go so she can finish her makeup, and I do manage to make it back to my desk before the tears come. There aren’t words for what I am feeling.
I weep silently, but she knows.
My mind drifts back over more than 30 years of bringing up four little boys and one little girl and I shake my head so the tightness in my throat doesn’t choke me. Memory lights in little places like a butterfly on summer wildflowers and I remember.
There is much to recall, like the day Jeff hit a grand slam on Mother’s Day that also happened to be Rosie’s second birthday. Like when three-year-old Matt would hide his dad’s wallet so he could be the one to find it and be the hero. Like when Luke portrayed Forrest Gump on the fly in a creative writing talk for a few hundred students. Like the day we circled the grave of our tiny new daughter gone too soon.
Like the day Trevor played his last Little League game ending 12 years of youth baseball and Matt pulled hidden hands from behind his back to present his brother with a handful of clay from the pitcher’s mound so he could remember. Like the time Rosie dictated a letter to Luke at camp, her toddler voice matter-of-fact in her animated description of wiping her nose.
These are moments worth cupping in grateful hands and clutching to the chest, the breathing of prayers only God can decipher because we mothers can’t always speak what the spark of the divine etches into our depths.
We just keep sculpting with messy hands and sweaty brows and enough grins to keep us going when things get hard. We don’t give up, because He never gives up on us. And because what we gain is worth so much more than we could hope to describe.
These masterpieces He creates and we shape by His grace are the only things we can take with us to Heaven.
I’ve stubbed bare toes often along this road, hopped around and stifled expletives and hobbled on. Lately I muse over the notion of no little hands left to hold, wonder how the years so swiftly slipped by.
The sacred deserves pondering. It reveals how even when we scorned Him He weaved us into His plan in ways we can’t comprehend. Who loves that much? Only Him. But we try, too, and we teach it to our children because love is our link to our Creator.
Music blares from her bedroom and I smile, imagining her gathering costumes and dancing shoes for this ending, this day for remembering how precious life is. We collect them in bottles and hold them to our hearts and whisper our gratitude to the giver of all good things.
Especially this gift of being a mom.
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