I stopped by my kids' school today to drop something off, and as I was leaving, I noticed that the first graders were all lined up and ready to test out the paper airplanes they had made.
I stopped to watch.
On the count of "three" they released the airplanes......and Tekoa's plane didn't fly. It flopped down at her feet.
Her shoulders slumped and she had that "I'm about to fall to pieces" look on her face.
And the mommy in me couldn't hold back.
I walked over to her and scooped her up in my arms. I carried her to a chair, we sat, and she melted. Sobbing.
The teacher's aide came over and whispered, "she's had a rough day."
Which pulled at me even more.
We sat like that until the students were called back to the classroom.
I carried her into her classroom and sat down at her desk- with her body still wrapped around mine.
Her teacher told the students to get out their handwriting pages and to get to work on them.
When I heard "handwriting" my heart pulled yet again, as I knew that was her least favorite subject. I knew that, unlike my other children, my Tekoa gets overwhelmed easily by a big task. And handwriting especially- because of the length of time it takes her, and the amount of writing to be done on each page.
So, I turned her around, pulled out the page, and set it in front of her. She wiped her tears, and without even looking at me she started right in.
No complaining, no thinking about the enormity of the task in her six year old eyes. She started in on the slow process of forming each letter. Lines and curves making letters, making words.
When her lines weren't straight, she erased them and started again. No sighs, no frustration, just pure focus on the task at hand.
Every now and then I would whisper in her ear, "good job." "nice work." "keep going." And she did. Through the whole page.
She did her very best work, because her mom was with her. Her mom was watching every stroke of her pencil. That was all that mattered- the presence of her mother. Mom was in Tekoa's world- at her level, in her classroom, and sitting with her at her desk.
The failure was forgotten, and the huge task ahead was not so intimidating anymore.
It changed everything.
And as for me, I was mesmerized.
I was with her, silently cheering her on. I was watching every line and every curve. And there was nowhere else in the world I would have rather been than in that moment with my daughter.
The slanted lines didn't make me cringe, they drew me in. I knew she would correct them, because she knew I was watching.
The amount of time it took her to complete the page didn't bother me either, because I know that for her, at six years old, this is all that she is capable of. I have no doubt that next year she will be flying through a page like that. But this year, she is only six and she needs more time and more practice.
I'm not concerned, because in my mind, it was just yesterday that she was taking her first steps and forming her first words.
She has come so far from the helpless baby I changed, fed, and held.
I remember how much I loved gazing into those big blue eyes as I nursed her. She would smile at me, and the milk would run down her sweet chin.
Those same big blue eyes are the ones that now fill up with tears at a failed paper airplane, and they are the same big blue eyes that will look at me with excitement when I someday hand her the car keys.
It will happen too fast, but I will be there through it all. Rooting her on. Being with her on her good days and in the trenches with her on her bad days.
It is my joy, it is my pleasure, because I love her. She is part of me.
She has captured my heart through her very existence and she doesn't even have to try to draw me in.
I'm drawn, I'm captivated, I'm forever with her.
Because she is my daughter.
Thank you, Lord, for being the author of that fierce parental love that doesn't hold back. Thank you for being my Father, making me your daughter, and for being right with me in all things.
The understanding of Your love for me, and the knowledge of Your presence in my life changes everything.