I cried when I saw her reach out from the couch and take 5 wobbly little steps, progressively faster and more desperate, into my arms. We've been practicing this for weeks, "walk to Mommy, now go back to Daddy". She finally did it! And she claps for herself with a big approving smile wiped clear across her precious little cheeks.
Now she's faster. I have to look when I shut the door because I realize her quick sneaky fingers could be exploring right in the door jam. I'm dreading that blood curdling cry as she's now into the fun of opening and slamming doors. I know from personal experience that the slamming gets increasingly stronger with each year that goes by, and peaks around 16. Whew, glad I've got 15 years to prepare for that.
And then I see her smile at me from across the room. She reserves those casual glances and pointed affection just for me, and Daddy too. I remember how she giggles in the morning when I open the door to rescue her from the great abyss we call her crib. I revel in that trained giggle she’s been refining for some months now, as she proudly wobbles herself across the sunlit floor. And as she falls into my arms with abandon, I realize 15 years is not enough time. She'll grow out of this soon enough. First grade will come and go and sloppy kisses and silly little grins will be old news. And I'll die a little inside, struggling between trusting this life cycle God has intended and wanting to change the mold and tell her 35 really is a more reasonable age to leave home and fly the nest.
I'll see that proud wobble again one day. I know her surrendered fall will be into the arms of a man she loves. And these Zombie days of Motherhood and so many life altering changes will seem like a piece of cake compared to releasing her on that day - her Wedding Day.
Her careful, slightly unsteady steps down the aisle, holding tightly onto her Daddy's arm will flood back memories. A bittersweet reminder of her first steps here in our home as she is exploring life and loving every knew accomplishment.
And I hope he'll breathe in this huge gift God is preparing for him. I can only hope he is wise enough to take it all in deep and cherish this little blessing I kiss every morning and night, this beautiful little girl full of life named Stella.