My heart leads me down, into the darkened hallway. I round the corner and as soon as my toe touches the creaky, wooden floor, she calls out. Her voice is teenager mixed with baby and my I melt as she asks me to scratch her back. I sit on the edge of her bed, her child-scent reaching to me and my heart leans in hard. My hand reaches down and touches the same skin once spread over a much tinier back and I remember. I remember her baby smell, the way she felt in my arms, safe, small, perfect. I scratch the memories in my mind and from my fingers flows love.
She is chatting away, something about cleaning tomorrow because it’s almost Thanksgiving and 30 people coming our way means an all day cleaning day for the children, but I’m not worried.
I watch as her long, khaki-blond hair curls just right around her shoulders. She looks at me with her daddy’s blue eyes and I am lost in them, in the memories, in the just-right way this moment feels. And this baby, she grew into “the challenging one,” as her strong will and determination drive me to the end of myself some days. She loves justice, which means black and white. No gray, no blurred lines. In her resoluteness, she makes sure she doles out just the right sentence to each child in our family– and to her parents.
Scared? Of nothing.
I see her soul and I wonder what the plans are that have been laid. Where will she go with this strength of spirit? Whose life will she touch? Will she make a difference? Will she love?
None of this concerns her as she lives in the carefree days of childhood. And I admire her for it. When everyone else is groaning about her dancing through the house, my heart says Dance! Be free! Love the moment! For one day it will fade and I will only be left with that image in my mind, just like the same baby ones I’m left with now, from days gone by. Oh, those baby days. I love them so and keep them tucked in, close.
I know when age is upon me, with the wrinkles wearing thick and the gray hair thinning, I will see her: ghost-like, yet alive–dancing through my living room. I will long for these days, the same ones that I can’t hardly get through some times. But I will smile, because I had lived.
I lean down, kiss her forehead and whisper sweet mommy tenderness into her ear, hoping it sticks somewhere. And then…that moment is gone, in the past with all the other ordinary–yet extraordinary–moments. I stay an extra second, engraving the blond, the blue, the perfectness into my soul. And I realize it’s these small, normal, every day moments that add up to a life. These precious moments that we never want to experience, because the day’s dirt feels grimy and we just need them to go to bed. Now. Rest is that elusive state of the mommy years. Someone is always reaching, always needing, but in this, in back-scratching, she feels safe, loved.
These tiny moments of nothing special.
And more nothing-special moments:
It’s just scratching. But it’s more. It’s love all squished in tight like the covers I tuck around her lanky frame. And even if she is almost 12 and she thinks she’s “got” this thing called Life, she hears her heart deep down and knows.
She’s mine. She needs. She lives for these seconds, whispered through her heart, that make up an entire childhood somehow. Our lives are intertwined for this time, these short years we live together. As we make memories, hang on tight to Jesus and pray when the teen years rage, I know the old cliche is true: love will win. In the little moments of nothing special.
And nobody is ever too old for a good back scratch.
Reflecting on the simple today. Baby number three turns 12 this next week and my mama heart is bursting.
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