“Swing me, daddy!,” our three-year-old gleefully requests, as she watches him spin her sisters in opposite directions.
Friday night is family movie night in our home. The girls set out a large blanket and we have an indoor picnic complete with pizza and pop in the living room – very notable in their world. But, I’m pretty sure their favorite part of the night is when the movie gets done because we have a family dance party to whatever song the credits roll. Smiles and laughter consume that time in a way that leaves me wishing for it not to end.
Much like their everyday.
Because even though there is dry erase marker on my kitchen wall, and less than perfectly clean floors, and sibling disagreements, and grumbling about bedtime, there is also three little girls who so can’t wait to tell me every detail of their day that they talk over each other, who light up when their daddy joins them at the lunch table, who cherish time making food with me in the kitchen, and want me to be at their every event. They want me to be visible in their classroom and will chow down any meal quicker for the chance to have a family Wii Just Dance “party” before bed. They want hugs and kisses and to snuggle tight in our arms.
They are our little girls and I don’t want that to change.
I met her in the halls of our daughters’ elementary school. Preparing to graduate from high school, Laura was set for a day of shadowing her incredible mom to see if teaching might be the career for her. Finally getting to meet was a gift. She danced at the same studio as my girls, and Hannah was so enamored by her she searched Laura out in recital numbers like it was a game of “Where’s Waldo.”
“I was thinking about asking Hannah to give me my flowers,” she tells me around the curve into the classroom. “My solo is going to be to Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman, and I’m going to have my dad dance with me.”
There was no time for the tears welling within to run free because she intended it a surprise for her mom who was now within proximity.
Praise God she decided to confide in me. I made a mental note to pack a whole box of tissue.
It spoke volumes of her character that she could choose any song, any style, any anything that would fit the recital theme and first in her mind was honoring the two people that nurtured her to this place.
God bless this girl.
In the weeks building to the recital I cherished seeing all sides waiting for this moment to piece together. She and her dad invited Hannah and I for a sneak peak early on at the studio. As I watched her grace the floor and looked at her father’s face beaming love deep, the tears started to fall. “Oops, I messed up,” she remarked in his embrace. Don’t worry, honey, I thought. None of us are going to be a seeing people by this point.
At school her mom remained clueless, chatting on about how Laura was so excited for this final recital that she asked to go shopping for their clothes. I knew it was to get her dad in his proper stage attire.
And when this weekend arrived, the suit coat hung stage right on a coat rack with a tiara for this girl of integrity stage left.
Tomorrow my two older girls visit their 2014-2015 classroom teachers and my youngest abruptly decided she doesn’t always need me to rock her before bed. Excuse me while I go get one of those Kleenexes. Everything in me wants to scream, “STOP! Please, Lord, just slow the clock down.”
And then my mind dances back to the gift Laura gave us all during those four minutes because it was more than just a moment-in-time senior solo. It was ministry on stage.
For the young, admiring dance students in the wings it told of a family tale that never has to weaken or break. At all ages, family can be first. And, for the girls, it illustrated which male, outside of her Heavenly Father, to run to first and trust in with her whole heart.
And, for myself and all the rest of the parents crying in the auditorium seats, it impressed a closeness that doesn’t go away only changes with new seasons. Our children may grow, but there are exciting joyful memories to be made together in evolving phases of life.
So if your heart is doing a little flip-flopping like mine...grab a tissue and cling to hope. Beautiful, unimagined heaven-kissed moments await.
DON'T FORGET!!! Also remember in your parenting journey you can encourage quality moments with your husband and 8-12 year old girl with my Bob & Dannah Gresh "8 Great Dates: Talking with Your Daughter About Understanding Boys" GIVEAWAY
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