This morning, I was head down at the computer, compiling spreadsheets, working on updating the company calendar, formatting Meeting Minute Notes, and plowing through my work emails. I had been working for about 4 hours straight without coming up for air. I was a woman on a mission.
But then the moment happened that caused spreadsheets, Distribution lists, travel requests and emails to all disappear for a very few brief moments.
You see, my big girl, Keli, was in her room getting ready for a full day of work. I haven’t had much time with her lately between my work schedule and her work schedule. And even though she was home with me this morning, I was buried up to my neck in my work, so we didn’t get much interaction.
But then I heard her call “Mom?”
I answered back “Yes?”
And she answered back “Would you braid my hair for work?”
And my heart melted.
So I grabbed her brush, and started to brush out her beautiful, long, blonde, curly hair. In doing so, I made a mental note: She’s now taller than me. I slowly smoothed the curls, then started to weave her long locks into a messy, uneven braid. (I have NEVER had skills when it comes to hair, never. I still, to this day, can not use a curling iron) I slowed way down as I got towards the end of the braid, where her hair is very fine–almost baby fine—and I wanted time to stop. Because, just for a moment, she was my little girl again and I was trying to manage her curly, unruly hair as she sat in my lap.
You see, I will never win “Mother of the Year” award. I gave that dream up years and years and years ago. I have not always loved or parented my crew well. It did not come naturally to me. I would watch what others would do, and try to imitate their actions with their children. But I failed my crew so many times–so many, many times. Over and over.
But there are moments that I remember not with shame from the many mistakes I made, but with great joy. Brushing my girl’s hair is one of those moments. Pulling the smalls when they were REALLY small to the public swimming pool in a wagon. Watching them as they learned to be independent. Teaching them to read before Kindergarten. These are things I treasure in my heart.
So when my 19 year old “baby” girl asked me to braid her hair today, I was transported to those few, precious days that I hold in my heart. She laughed at me when I told her all of this, but I think she enjoyed it as much as I did.
I love this passage in Deuteronomy 6:6-9
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates
Particularly verses 6 and 7……the words commanded to the Israelites–and to us–are to be taught diligently to your children. I regret that, even though we were in ministry, my children did not get this instruction well from me as their mother. They got tough, tough discipline and high expectations, but not tender loving instruction in the ways of God or the way to live.
But what I am learning is that it is not too late. I’m learning to capitalize on the moments that God grants me and my crew, by instigating conversations with them about scripture. I’m learning to capitalize on the moments when they will allow me to hug them, kiss them, and tell them how much I love them and how proud I am of them. We never used to verbally say “I love you.” when going to bed or leaving for school or hanging up on the phone. Now it is common practice between the 5 of us. By God’s grace, I am learning to cherish my children–my “crew”–and the gifts they are to me.
And I will always cherish the gift I was giving today, of having 5 minutes to brush my “baby’s” hair, lovingly braid it in a lopsided, messy braid, and send her out into the world to work and live as a young adult. I am so blessed.