Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If I only had today, a post for Laney

This blog, although named for Danica, really has journaled our entire family's heart the past years. I have written several times specifically about my Delaney Jayne and how this life God has chosen for us hurts her perhaps the deepest of us all even though she seems to show it the least. Lately, I have been understanding more and more how I have repeatedly failed to trust God with this precious child in ways that are are easy for me to give Danica or my marriage over to Him. I have had the most control over what I wanted her life to look like and be like early on and as it has slipped away from me I have felt desperate when it comes to my love for her and my inability to really communicate to her how much I want her to be okay and grow strong and true through this stuff.

Last night was her Christmas program. I was trying to direct preparations from here over the phone. Dan sent me a picture by email with Delaney in her new holiday dress from my sister, Rochelle, and Danica wearing an old Christmas dress that is a size 8 hanging in the back of her closet for a hand-me-down someday. It was all falling off her shoulders and her too long bangs that need trimmed were falling in her eyes. So, I called and let him know Danica's new dress from Rochelle was in the closet. It looks similar to Laney's new one. Please put it on her and explain to her she can wear the other one in two or three years when it actually fits . . . oh, and please find a barrette for her hair and try taking another picture for Christmas cards. Delaney looked perfect.

I didn't hear from them for awhile and later I checked my email to find Danica looking like a perfect china doll in her new dress with ringlets and fancy shoes and tights. Horrified, I see Delaney has for some reason changed into a jean skirt, a black long sleeve t-shirt, a red polo shirt and a silver scarf. I'm aghast. I would post the succession of pictures here, but I truly am too embarrased. Although I know many of you from LCCS saw my Laney get up on stage last night and thought for sure, "That poor girl needs a mother."

I have been working on this "montage" for her for months. I usually do one each year for the girls for their birthdays. They both look forward to seeing them and since scrapbooking is a hobby I once loved but fell to the wayside years ago I like to at least see the year summed up in one place. Around Laney's birthday in September is when my health became so bad I could not sit on the computer to type for any long period of time or focus to write or work on any projects. And so this sat here half way done and kept being moved on my "to do" list.

This morning I woke and had my quiet time at the feet of Jesus. I thought of the very frantic nature of my reaction to something like clothing and what that communicates about my heart to my dear daughter. I thought about what it felt like to be nine. I was oh so strong willed and either wearing a home sewn victorian outfit (wishing it was a real Gunne Sax) with a big hat living in a dream world or dressed in all black and reading poetry by candle light trying to reconcile with a very angry God. I was oh so serious and so sure my mother could never understand me or why I needed to wear black that day or light a candle even though we weren't Catholic. I know I wanted to stand out and maybe just begin a little to have my own style or my own voice in the sea of matching Little House on the Prairie dresses we were asked to wear on Sundays.

If you know Delaney you love her. She is outspoken and opinionated and tells the truth in places we are all too civil to do so. She is wildly creative and happiest when doing anything outdoors or with art. She is already the core of who I know she will fully grow into be. I love this about girls who are nine and ten. I want to protect it from mean hearted people who might tell her to be something else, believe something else, become something else. In many ways I want to protect her from me the most because I know she listens through the yelling that has turned into a quiet whisper of late and needs me to notice her and praise her and hug her and be sure of her when no one else can or will. This is what good mothers do. They learn to edit the voice in their head and listen harder to the heart beside them.

This is what I have missed out on in my absences from my girl. I write to her. I tell her the things I wish I could whisper in her ear, but I know she cannot listen to right now. I remember, Laney, what nine is like. It's okay you wore that crazy outfit last night. It's okay to hear the beat of a different drummer. It's okay to pick something different than I would or your friends might.

In all my life the most important gifts God has given me are my dear husband and my girls. He gave to me real live souls and asked me to care for them. If you are with your children today. If you get to pick them up from school or take them to a music lesson or fuss at them to do their homework. If you get to give them a bath and snuggle and read a book or tuck them in and kiss their sweet head. You are blessed. This is a huge amazing gift. Let the other stuff fall away.

"You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today." — Shauna Niequist

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