All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods
She is four going on twenty. Every moment is filled with discovery. Conscious of the rhythms within, she dances with abandon, unconscious of all else. One minute she is Cinderella. The next, a Native American princess. A shrub by the road becomes the burning bush and her version of the story is exegesis. Her songs thrill me and her “scary voice” harkens “The Exorcist”.
Her parents pour their love, energy, time, and attention into this little one. I’m her Cece, her grandmother, and these are this morning’s anointings.
I pray that she will love the quest enough to live with the questions. I’ve seen so much unhappiness in forced certainty. I wish for her the courage to ponder and the wisdom to unlearn. At any age.
I hope she will question most readily those with ready answers. That she will choose respect...for herself, for others. And, with guidance, establish boundaries, not walls.
I will not give her my answers. I have so few to give anyway. Besides, this girl has gumption. She will find her own. I pray that she will keep a few. A few good ones. I hope she will hold these lightly, give them breathing room to grow and evolve. That she will be true to her values and steadfast in her own walk. Live honestly. Choose truth over facts.
I will help her embrace “yes” and introduce her to “no”. I will honor her parents. Eat my peas. Say “please” and “thank you” and “I’m sorry” and all the rest I ask her to do. I will say grace and kneel. I will fall down and get up and do it all again. (I can handle modeling imperfection. I’m in my element here.)
I long for time in her presence. FaceTime and Skype are good. But I want to color with her. Cook with her. Hold her hand and luxuriate in her soft, sweet warmth snuggled against me. Take long walks and sit by a pond with a fishing pole. With her. I am far away. For now, FaceTime and Skype are a blessing.
This tiny girl evokes a fierce and terrible love. She is the future. We hand her to a world filled with both beauty and danger and send her forward. With all that we’ve left undone. With all that we’ve done. (Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.) Those shoulders are so tiny. But her stride is strong. Her mind is sharp. Her heart is filled with songs and love and hugs and kisses. And Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Eternal Goodness, enfold her.
Love you, Ciara,