Friday, February 28, 2014

For Clementine at Five

"I haven't been able to shake it all day," I told your dad. "I was minutes from walking down the aisle, wearing a white, wedding dress with pink trim, and I couldn't decide whom to marry. Neither man was a good choice," I said. (Neither man was your dad.)

"Huh," your dad said. "Sorry about that. I don't get why you're calling it a nightmare, though. It doesn't sound scary."

But it disturbed me. Disturbs me. And I feel like I'm supposed to write this out for you, my just-turned-five Wild Orange: like you're the one who will need it most.

I wouldn't go back in time, Baby. Even if given the opportunity to erase some hurts, I wouldn't go back...even to either of my beginnings with your dad. I'd be too afraid of the butterfly effect: too afraid that, somehow, things would shift so that one of you (my babies) wouldn't make it through to me just exactly as you are.

Folks assume wrongly that--if I have a wild card of a child--it must be your red-headed sister, but no. She bounces (with an umph) off the dot of my exclamation point, but you come bearing gifts in the form of mystery surprise. Five years in, I can't quite anticipate what you might say or do. I don't feel, to this day, like I have a good handle on how to please you.

We go 'round and 'round, but I see how your heart hides trembling behind those words you cook up according to whim and serve with a side of exasperation. You set up shop on the corner of Boss and Sass but rarely strike. If something's been gotten into or shredded into itty bits, you're most likely to blame, but--when I need to grab something from the minivan or change my clothes--you can be counted upon to watch Chip like a hawk. You love to sort silverware, fold washcloths, and sweep the kitchen floor. You're our tiny dancer, and when you sing, it's on key and with vibrato.

I think you're perfect just the way you are. (I wouldn't change you nary a bit.)

You were wearing a hint of make-up and unfamiliar clothes, one day, in preparation for group photos. In the split second before I recognized you as mine, I thought: what a pretty little girl. You are, and--another day, as you slept (long, lean, sweet-smelling, and sun-kissed) in my arms--I felt compelled to pray over your body: that anyone who ever holds you will love you as much as I. We mothers tuck moments like these in our hearts, and one of the dearest in mine is this: one day, when I was particularly frustrated with you, I heard the Lord speak to me as clearly as ever He has.

"There are so many who would give anything to have a little girl like that," He said.

I felt so small and sorry for my impatience, just then, and with tears in my eyes responded: "Yes, Father. And I am one of them."

I've never forgotten, Clementine, and I'm so thankful you're mine: just the way you are. I've never loved anyone better or more, and I'm so glad we've made it safely to five.


  1. Sweetest words ever. You're a wonderful mama.

  2. I love the way you shared your heart in this post. Clementine is a very, sweet , loving special little girl. I am looking forward to all her years from here on. She wil amaze and delight us. You are a good mother to her- always creating adventures and teaching her to be just what God intends.