Heartbeats of Love

It is late when I hear the tiptoe of little feet, though they are not so little as they once were. I pull my book down to peer over and see her big brown eyes not quite brimming with tears, but I can tell she is close.

“I just…” she heaves, trying not to cry, Digger-Dog clutched close. “I just feel like I need your protection.”

I smile and pull my striped coverlet back patting next to me aching for her fear. She crawls in next to me and buries her head into my shoulder. I can smell her shampoo, a gentle floral, as I smooth tangles from her red curls.

We talk for a while–life and tears and friendship and imagination–until she falls peacefully asleep, until my Brian comes to join us and carries her snuggled into his chest to her own loft again.

Oh, y’all, this girl. She is growing so much, yet parts of her are still so young and beautifully innocent.

~~~

“Mom,” she giggles from the back seat, “Look at the trees. They are waltzing in the wind. You know how I know it’s a waltz? Because it’s slow and gentle and beautiful.” We watch the trees for a while, quiet together, and I gaze at her in the rearview mirror whenever I can, her eyes enraptured by the dance before us, absent-mindedly fingering her new pierced ears. Yes. Pierced ears.

Oh, y’all, this girl. She is growing up so much, but her eyes still see the beauty in everything, untainted by the hardness of this world.

~~~

She skips beside me as we walk toward the store, excited and chattering about the earrings she will choose. As we draw near, her hand slips quickly into mine and her body presses close. “Do you think it will hurt?” her eyes fill with anxiety. We talk about what it will be like and she grows quiet. She chooses earrings that look like diamonds for her birthstone, and she bravely climbs up on the chair. The surprise on her face when the first earring pierces is almost violent. “Oh! That hurt!” and before she can fully register the pain, the second one is pierced and it’s over and she’s laughing at her reflection in the mirror and choosing a second pair–Eiffel towers because a visit to Paris one day is on her bucket list.

Oh, y’all, this girl. She is growing up so much and she makes me laugh with her spunk and inspiration.

~~~

“Are you excited to grow up?” I ask her, not wanting to acknowledge that my children are all in double-digits now. How is she ten?
“Mmmmm…” she pauses, looking up at me and gently shakes her head. “Not really,” she admits. “When you grow up, you lose your imagination.” Tears spring to my eyes. Have I taught her this? Have I become so lifeless with this daily cancer battle that my weariness has tarnished her vision? “I don’t want to stop, Mom. I want to imagine and dress up and build my fairy gardens forever.”

Oh, sweet girl. We talk about life and love and imagining, and I tell her she can always use her imagination. It just might look different. But for now… she can keep her dressing up and her fairy gardens and her beautiful innocence and maybe when she’s older she can write children’s books full of fairies and dressing up and dreams.

Oh, y’all, this girl. She is growing up so much and I want to shield her from the pain of this world. She’s tasted so much already.

~~~

I hear her humming quietly as we place toppings on pizzas and laugh about dividing up the green peppers when she keeps crunching on them. Her pitch is lovely and her voice quietly begins to sing… “Your grace abounds in deepest waters, your sovereign hand will be my guide…” I love listening to her and I tell her so. She smiles slightly, then says firmly, “It’s truth, Mom. It’s truth.” Then she pops another green pepper in her mouth and skips off to work on cleaning her room, and I hear her singing again above me.

Oh, y’all, this girl. She is growing up so much and she warms my heart with her faith and trust in so many ways.

I am certain God knew when He formed her that I needed her joyful personality and fresh imagination to bolster my spirit. She is full of dreams and spunk, and is a friend to all, weeping when others weep and rejoicing when others rejoice. This girl with a heart of gold.

This girl is growing up so much. She turned ten a week ago, and though I cry inwardly for time to stop, I know… this is best, this growing and loving and learning and changing.

This is the beauty of time.

Because for us time is measured in heartbeats of love, and we have all the time in the world.

This girl, y’all, oh this girl. The world was given a beautiful gift when she was born.

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3 responses to “Heartbeats of Love”

  1. Beth Harper says:

    Beautiful beautiful gift. God bless Audrey

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  2. Debbie Fields says:

    You didn’t teach her that imagination ends as we grow up, you taught her that “grace abounds in deepest waters,” my dear friend! And you taught her how to know when she needs Eiffel Tower earrings. Or hugs. Or waltzes. Love y’all. Good work, mama.

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  3. melissa moslow says:

    Dear Angie— First of all, so glad to hear from you. You’ve been much on my mind and I have missed your words. xo
    Next — As I read about dear Bella I was taken back to being 10. I recall it well. It was THE BEST of times, as childhood was still very much MINE. But I too felt it as a fleeting treasure and would sometimes panic at the thought. Deep in my 10 year old heart was the haunting song from the old movie Toyland. The theme song resonated with me as a very little girl hearing it on the consol stereo:
    “Toyland, Toyland, mystical girl-and-boy-land. Once you’ve crossed its borders you may never return again.”
    I recall grieving that idea while still very small and from it determining that I would ENJOY and SAVOR my childhood while it lasted. I could not have been more than 6 years old when I decided that. And how very glad I am that I did.
    A few years later my best friend Cheri Bartrip and I (both of us ADORED Laura Ingalls Wilder books and played pioneer stories all the time!) WEPT together under the boughs of the evergreen tree in her front yard where we had set up our “cabin” for play. We were totally immersed in our story when suddenly one of us “realized” these days were numbered. These days of play. We were already 12 years old and we were still PLAYING and it seemed suddenly all so fleeting. We had internalized the last page of Laura’s book so that we bawled our eyes out holding each other as we quoted “Backward, Turn backward, Oh Time, in thy flight. Make me a child again just for tonight. ” I recall we went charging into the house to her mother, sobbing our grief onto her shoulder. I think she laughed. Perhaps “knowingly” but still it felt like a laugh that did not understand!! And that added to our sorrow.
    I smile now. Recalling. Tenderly. Gladly.
    I think it was uncanny that we KNEW to treasure the time we had and to march bravely on into adolescents and then adulthood. We were, in fact, doing what the wise man admonished. We were REDEEMING the Time. Which is something all wise persons do. Which YOU do. So well. And help us to do because of it. You make me realize STILL that time is precious and to be savored. Not gripped. Not clutched. For it can not be. And to try would only make us anxious and bitter and scared. But to instead HOLD it. Open handed. Taking in the beauty of each moment like a looooong INHALEd breath.
    You do that for us and with us.
    Your readers.
    As you do it with your daughter. The daughter who can SEE with the rest of us poets and time-redeemers the DANCING TREES out the car window!!!
    Remind her something. Tell her for me. That I was once 10 and worried about leaving childhood. And it is what is called a “bitter sweet reality.” Ask her what “bitter sweet” tastes like when it is on her tongue. The tell her for me that the SWEET part is so very sweet and the leaving part that is bitter is not going to be as bitter as she fears. Because, she CAN keep the beauty of seeing like a child. And when she has little children in her life, she will relive it again and again and again. MOTHERHOOD is coming in that adult future and it too is WONDERFUL! And she is going to LOVE, love, LOVE it!!!!
    xo
    Melissa

    Like

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