Friday, August 8, 2014

In Her Shoes

{Previously published on my old blog in March 2012}


Under the fluorescent lights of a shoe store this past weekend, I had a moment of realization: I wear the same shoe size as Jayna now. As one friend puts it, my shoe wardrobe just doubled.

As this dawned on me, I pointed out a pair of very cute purple shoes. "How about these?"

She made a face. "They're purple." Disgust dripped from every word, like I was asking her to wear horns to school.

"I like purple."

"Yeah me too. On my shirt." She scanned the shelves. "I like brown," she said, "and black."

"But colors are fun!"

"Yeah. But everything goes with brown and black. And I don't have to think hard about whether my outfit goes with my shoes."

It was hard not to smile. This is exactly how I was at twelve. In fact, this is exactly how I was for a very long time. It's only been in recent years that I started wearing, say, red shoes again.

I've never felt like I missed out on anything important by having her just weeks before I turned twenty-one. But being that close in age to my eldest daughter, I've watched every single step of the way with a vivid recollection of exactly how I felt at whatever age she was. Four and all the world was a stage, just waiting, breathless. Seven and believing in fairies and magic even when she ought to know better because the thought made her heart dance. Nine, learning and hating the words "Life isn't fair." Twelve and -- dear Lord, are we at twelve already? The best and worst of times. The age where childhood begins to disappear and in fits and spurts everything else begins. I've been there, sweetheart.

Just around the corner from my twelve, I faced some of the hardest, loneliest years of my life. I think of the giants she has to face, and it almost takes my breath away.

And then I think of the moments of incredible grace. About a week after Matt left, I sat on my bed, crying as I nursed Wyatt. Things seemed so bleak just then. I was tired and as I thought of all the uncertainties in our lives, it seemed like too much. Jayna came in asking me where something was and stopped short when she saw my tears.

"What's wrong?" she asked. I tried to say "nothing" but when she sat down beside me, a Kleenex in her outstretched hand, everything came spilling out. And for the first time, she sat and listened not as my little girl, but as another woman would, as a friend.

I realized this the moment I stopped to take a breath, and she said, "I'm sorry." It was the first time those words weren't used as an apology from her, but as sympathy from someone coming along beside me.

So I pray into those moments when she doesn't know I'm looking and I see the fear or uncertainty or loneliness. I hope she knows. I've been there, sweetheart. I've been there.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Go ahead and make my day! Leave a (respectful) comment!