Sunday, August 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye ...

As she tearfully waved goodbye from her spanking new enormous shiny blue Jeep this afternoon, I imagined that God and I had had a conversation a few years ago. It would have gone something like this:

Me: Dear God, you know I would love to have a daughter; please, what can You do?

God: Your dream daughter - how do you see her?

Me: For starters, I would like her to be tall. I've always been sad that I am so short, and I'd like my daughter to grow up to be several inches taller than I am. I'd like her to have dark hair and hazel eyes. It wouldn't hurt if she had a little upturned nose a bit like Julia Roberts', smattered with freckles like pixie kisses.

God: So it's all about the looks, huh?

Me: She needs to be creative. I would love it if she could write or have a talent that would allow her to express her personality and her character.

God: Which is ...

Me: First and foremost, she would be kind. She would have a gentle spirit that reaches out to the timid, the scared, the underrepresented, the invisible. She would be able to laugh with those who laugh and weep with those who weep.

She would be intelligent, able to respond quickly and with a sense of humour in conversation. She would be industrious and able to take initiative. She would have dreams for her life and would be able to realize them.

She would be a leader among her peers, but one who works quietly from within to seek solutions. She would be considered in her words and actions.

God: She sounds like a paragon.

Me: But she would be funny in an offbeat way too! She would be a little awkward, a little out of sync with the world she finds herself in. She would probably want to do crazy things with her hair ... we would argue about piercings and tattoos ... she'd have her own unique perspective on style ... she'd never be boring, at any rate!

And she'd have enough of a temper that would prevent her from being taken advantage of by people who would seek to prey on her good nature. She'd be able to stand up for herself when needed. She'd have to experience some adversity, in order that she be able to stretch and unfurl her wings and fly away when the time came.

And she would know You. She'd know that You were with her and caring for her.

God: But you're lousy with babies. You couldn't change their diapers and burp them and sing them to sleep through their endless crying jags. And do you know anything at all about balanced diets, regular sleep and exercise?

Me: Yes, but I'm good at homework and at listening and at defending my own!

God: I think we can make this work. I'm going to give you a girl whom you can love and care for and encourage and motivate and laugh with and cry with. She's going to come to you in her teens - I think you could cope with that! She'll be taller than you and her original hair will be dark, although I can't guarantee how long it will be before it's blue or green or purple. She'll be intelligent and motivated and industrious. She will love people and be able to show great kindness and compassion in her words and deeds. She will have a quick sense of humour and be able to relate to people of all ages and walks of life. She'll be a story teller and an artist.

That adversity you were talking about? She'll have a hard time with formal education. Make sure you help her with her homework! Give her space to breathe and tools to grow, but be there in the background as a place where she will always be welcome, always be heard, always feel safe.

Oh, and one other thing: she will have one of the biggest hearts you will ever witness in a human being. She will run the risk of losing herself in her desire to help others. People she loves will be cruel to her. They won't understand her, her magic and her mystery. They will take her for granted, make demands on her that she will of course try to meet. They will attempt to curb and tailor her unique view of life to suit their more traditional outlook. They'll take advantage of her. She will often feel alone and unheard. There will be a certain vulnerability to her that will break your heart as you will stand by helplessly and let her lead her life. She will be a "bruised reed", like the prophet talks about.

But like the bruised reed, I will not allow her to be broken. She will have a special place in my line of sight and when she unfurls those beautiful asymmetrically coloured wings of hers and gets ready to fly away, I will protect her and be with her.

She will call you her second mom. She will probably never spell your name right! She will bring you and your family and the TH much laughter and joy and love.

What do you think you'll call her?

Me: She sounds like the morning, fresh and full of promise, waiting for the day. I think I'll call her Dawn. My Little Dawn.


  1. The granddaughter Julia Child might have wished for would have been one who loved preparing good food - with real butter and pure cream; who relished serving it to people from all walks of life, day or night; who listened well with the heart, without in the meantime lacking words; whose informal, inspiring teaching (maybe even writing) shaped lives; who didn't tower over others; who became a bright spot in any room; who knew how to hold on and how to say goodbye. Today is Julia's birthday, and I'm sure she would be thrilled by you!


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