I almost missed this lunch with me daughter. After a season of unexpected responsibilities piling upon my already overflowing plate, I felt ground down with any sense of fun and freedom morphed into to-do lists. It is our first day of spring break, and I have already budgeted every minute of every day.
Curled up on the sofa next to me, she leans in and just looks me in the eyes as if trying to see if I am still in there somewhere behind my frenzied efficiency. I am tempted to close my eyes to avoid another tug-of-war for my time. But I can’t. In her unguarded face, I read her own vacillation between accepting that maybe once again, mom will be too busy and hoping that today I might sweep it all aside to just be with her. Thankfully, she reaches me.
In the soothing ambiance of Alaska Coffee Roasting, over Italian soda and grilled sandwiches, we lament the restricting labels that reduce budding personalities to clichés. “I don’t want to boxed into ‘hipster,’ or anything else; I just want to be me.” For a split second, the rehearsed mother-voice that taught her to play nice as a toddler grapples for control of my tongue to spit out something “proper,” but thankfully, I have already thrown caution to the wind for the day. So instead of correcting her as my child, I empathize with her as my friend.
“I know, right? Doesn’t it just feel so claustrophobic to have to define or be defined as any one thing?” And in that precious hour, we celebrated together the wonder of variety, the freedom not to conform to manufactured standards, and the delight in embracing that the puzzle pieces of our personalities don’t neatly add up to any one description.
Forget the teachable moments; this is heart-to-heart, and we are women together. We are together.
Thirty years her senior, I am more immune to the pressures she experiences. If we thought it oppressing to process airbrushed bodies on magazine covers at the check-out, I can’t even imagine attempting to grow up authentic with social media’s trending images and opinions seeping through everything everywhere.
The mama lion roars within me, and my claws are itching to tear it all away from her, to free her and her friends from the world of labels and diets and public personas. But it’s not what they need from me. At this stage, at their cusp of adulthood, my loud opinion is no different from all the others out there; it’s another human voice adding to their noise.
So I listen.
And the miraculous happens: as I let go of my own responsibilities and for an afternoon live in her world, I remember feelings and colors and songs I forgot along along the way. I feel alive. Before returning to my rich, responsible reality, we grab her sister, and, music blasting, the three of us rush to South Beach for a nose piercing. Just because.
Home again, the work awaits. Truth be told, I absolutely love it, and I know this season of extraordinary tasks is fading. And new ones will arrive, as they always have, but that little turquoise bead in my nose reminds me of why I’m fighting so hard. The Love-seed that was planted in my soul, the people I am entrusted, and the Word that created the worlds and will stand when all is shaken, are beyond worth it.
The sapphire shines in my daughter’s eyes, reflecting the horizon where sea and sky kiss and we glimpse the throne of God. I glimpse the heart of God – He’s beautiful.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “ love will cover a multitude of sins.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8
“And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity.” ~ Exodus 24:10