the other morning while cleaning up the kitchen i heard my little lady of one and a half quietly playing in the other room. i had the kitchen radio on, but really, i was listening to her. her little voice. she sounded so busy. i heard her quick foot steps down the hall and back again. then she'd be back in the room, close to where i was, just talking and talking in her sing-song young lady-like way. i kept at my kitchen work, still listening to her but starting to pay closer attention to the preacher on the radio. then i heard it.
"daper? daper? daper?" was what her little voice kept repeating in question tone. oh no. she had recently started using the potty. she also has a habit of taking off her clothes and sometimes her diaper too. daper is diaper, in grace speak. my worst fear was that i'd peak around the corner and find her with no clothes on, and a poopy diaper half peeled off.
quickly abandoning whatever kitchen work i was doing, i move for the dinning room where i hear her voice and stop dead in my tracks. my heart previously dropped heavily to my knees, it is now my knees that are week and my heart that soars. i stand there blinking back tears. my little lady of just twenty months of age playing with her doll baby who, might i add, isn't much smaller than she. doll baby flopped on top of the toy chest, her feet in the air and several of gracie's diapers on the chest and the surrounding floor. my daughter was changing her baby's diaper. in a mommy-like way, she was asking her baby, "nee' daper? 'come on."
be. still. my. heart.
i stood there and watched a little longer. watched as she struggled with the heavy doll baby trying to lift up it's hinney and putt on a new diap. grace started to pitch a fit.
"grace?" i asked from the door way. "does your baby need a new diaper?" she turned and looked at me. big swirling blue eyes, ever so hopeful.
"you want mommy to help you?" i asked.
and their it was. me teaching my daughter the simple task of diapering a baby doll. her tiny hands helping to open and close the tape. her repeating my words of instruction. my trying to permanently sear each and every single second of the whole experience in my memory. my recalling that this little person was watching me. she would turn out a certain way because of me. she would maybe, diaper her own babies some day and then turn around and show her little ladies how to diaper their baby dolls.
blinking back tears, doll baby diapered, i look into her tiny sweet face and say, "she's all fresh."
"does she need shoes and socks?" i ask my little grace.
"uh huh," she replies with her eyes enlarging in excitement she runs her pitter-patter feet down the hall and into her room. "here 'ey are." i watch as she takes her shoes and socks from a cabinet in her room. the same cabinet that was once in my room. the same cabinet that was once in my mommy's room. she comes barreling back down the hall with a face full of delight and hands them to me. we sit for what seems like too short, but i know it was quite long, putting gracie's socks and sneakers on and off her doll baby's feet.
my little lady. saying and doing as i say and do. in a voice that sings-songs much like mine. in ways that seems more familiar then strange. it makes me want to be me at my very best. who is that person that i wished i could be for her? the best version of me that only God Himself can turn me out to be and only by my stepping back and letting him have all of me. all of me. letting Him have my little lady and making her what it is that He wants and needs her to be. impressing Him on her heart by letting Him be first impressed on mine.
we play more with her baby doll. i get barretts and grace finds her comb and this doll baby is fresh with a new diaper, has had socks and shoes put on only to be taken off again and now it endures the brush strokes and barret application of a small toddler not yet able to do those things for herself. i sit and help and watch and say silent prayers to Maker of all that has breath, that she will one day be full of breath that praises the very same Maker.
my small boy of four years and five months appears up the steps and wonders what we are doing. again, i am reminded that i need to be the best me possible, for him as well. for it is this small man child that will one day grow up and be attracted to someone someday, that they say reminds him most of me. and suddenly i want again to be my best me. i pray again for my decreasing and His increasing and the desire for this boy to know and love and trust the Creator of all the heavenly lights. i pray silently that i will help them both find and shine that light whereever they go.
this calling of mommy. this job of sorts. it's by far, more then i expected and by far more then i ever hoped to receive, let alone deserve. it's by far, my favorite job of all. by far, one of my favorite delights.