As I drove to work this morning the sun had yet to peek over the horizon, but a smile had already risen on my face. Despite the dark hour, sleepy brain, and still full coffee mug, I felt a joyful energy flowing through my veins. My thoughts came back to my eldest daughter’s giggle, the one that had just recently tickled my ears, and I beamed anew. I realized her sweet spirit had injected itself into my marrow, and I felt rejuvenated by the memory of her smile. What a gift!
Just to let you know, my oldest daughter, still age nine, loves to sleep. In fact, she reminds me of a teenage boy. If we didn’t make her wake she would Rip Van Winkle her life away. Even on school days, she didn’t get up until at least nine or ten, thanks to her homeschool schedule. Yet there she had sat when I opened the bathroom door. After a hot shower I had opened the door to allow the steam to exit, and sitting on the floor, waiting patiently, she smiled underneath sleepy eyes.
This wasn’t the first time my girl had woken up as I got ready, and as I hugged her tight I commented, “I hoped I’d see you.”
It had all started a couple of months ago. My big girl had heard me leaving for work, and she had woken brightly to give me a goodbye hug and kiss. Later that night, when I had returned home, she had exclaimed with conspiratorial glee, “I saw you this morning!”
It was like it had been our secret meeting, something that she as the eldest child could take part in alone, and it became apparent it was a big deal to her. So much so, that she started telling me before bed to wake her in the morning before I left. At first, I tried to let it go. I had whispered her name, and when I didn’t get an answer, gone about my way. I liked the quiet time in the mornings to reflect and pray, and surely she didn’t really want to wake up intentionally at 6:00 am!
Boy, was I wrong. I had to hear all about her disappointment. Then she took to adding to her bedtime prayers, “and let me wake up before Mom goes to work.”
The first morning the Lord answered her prayer, you would have thought He had caused the sun to stand still like He did for Joshua in the Old Testament. She had gushed to me at bedtime about how God had heard her. Spurred by her childlike faith she ended her prayers in the same manner, petitioning the Lord to wake her when I got up.
Well, He did. She woke up, and it seemed to make her so happy, I didn’t tell her not to. It got to where I found myself praying in the shower for God to help her wake up, and I assumed I was praying that prayer for her benefit, but this morning I started to wonder if it wasn’t also for me.
“Bark, bark, bark,” came the sound of our family dog.
She had giggled, holding a hand over her laughing mouth, and I had snickered along with her. That was the scene this morning when we had sat on the bed together before I left for the day. While I pulled on my compression socks she had shared story after story with me, like we were two gossiping girls at the back of the school bus, and the driver, aka dog, had let us know we were getting too loud. As I heard my husband grumble, “be quiet, Lizzie,” I stifled more laughter, and I exchanged amused glances with my daughter. We almost got caught!
As I later drove to work, still feeling the high of giggles and great big hugs, it hit me the absolute gift of these unexpected yet joyful meetings. I had not known I needed them, but now felt myself abundantly grateful for them. I couldn’t believe I had almost brushed off her attempts to meet with me, assuming we could always find a better and more convenient time. I had almost forgotten that one day she wouldn’t remember to pick up the phone and check in with her ole mom, much less get up hours early for daily gab sessions.
I didn’t know when might be our last morning to hug, or lay on the bed together while I played with her hair, neglecting thoughts that I needed to hurry up and get moving. I had grown to adore our morning prayers and hearing her middle-school-age thoughts on life. And I knew I better savor these precious moments while I could. I had to savor the fact that she wanted to spend time with me even more than she wanted to sleep in, and it humbled me to realize I must be pretty darn special in her book. The thought made me smile again.
Then I pondered, “is this how God feels when His children take the extra time to have a conversation with Him?”
All I know is, I’m grateful for this morning. I’m glad I took the time, that I enjoyed the time, and that I recognized that time with those you love is so very precious. Sometimes you might have to carve that much needed time out of your day, whether it’s to wake early, stay up a little late, or curtail your lunch break. I’m certainly glad my daughter felt I was worth it, and I’m blessed to see the gift that arrived this morning in the package of giggles and gal time.