Oh, our second and last baby, how we love you. People told your dad and me that your big sister was our "sucker baby": she was so easy-going that she suckered us into having another one. And it is true that when you came along, you were another story . . . your own story. Your approach to us was, "What have you got? Bring it on, 'cause I've got more." That "more" has challenged us, but it has also thrilled and delighted and stunned us, because it reflects pieces of who you are.
You are complex and complicated and, as my mama and your grandma put it perfectly, "unusually unique." You feel what you feel, deeply, and you don't hide it. You are determined, focused, driven, and passionate. You can be tricky to figure out, but you are a puzzle so worth putting together.
You are also kind and compassionate . . . and one day, in a high school girls'
bathroom, you showed me what kindness and compassion look like.
It was band camp week, and I'd been in and out, playing band mom and feeding kids. I'd messaged you earlier in the day and commented that there were a couple girls I knew for a fact were lonely . . . girls who'd told me they didn't have any friends.
Right away, you texted back: "Do you know which ones they are? I'll try to talk to them."
So I was already proud of you for that, but then when I walked into the school later that day to do freezer-pop duty, one of your marching band instructors told me, "Your daughter is a real trooper." And then, gradually, I found out what had happened.
I found out how you had walked into the girls' bathroom and discovered one of those lonely girls there, her arms covered with cuts. I learned that you'd tried to comfort her and found her some Band-Aids and gave her a hug and took her to where she was supposed to be.
I also learned that some of your fellow band members gave you a hard time for that. "Why did you do that?" they asked you, and you told them, "She's a person. She deserves to be treated with respect."
My daughter, I know I'll be proud of you many times in the future, but I'm thinking those times will always have to measure up to this one.
Later that day, I came across one Bible verse and one quote that were so right in light of what had happened, I might have called him coincidences, except that they had the mind and heart and hand of Abba written all over them.
"And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" (Matthew 25:40)
"May I urge you to love the overlooked? When you talk to the lonely student or befriend the weary mom, you love Jesus. He dresses in the garb of the overlooked and ignored." (Max Lucado)That day in the school bathroom, you showed me what this verse looks like when it's lifted off the pages of a Bible and put into action in real life. You showed me what this quote looks like when it's not just something somebody says but something somebody does.
And you showed me what kindness looks like when it's given a voice and hands and feet—and, sometimes, a Band-Aid.
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