I am her first word. Right before her brother’s name and the word “airplane” which is almost the same as “Daddy.”
This 1-year-old daughter of mine looks like my baby pictures, though she is becoming my toddler pictures. Last night, I held her and sang “You are my Sunshine” into the curls that are mine, or used to be mine back when I was blonde and toddled around on a different island.
“…my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.”
I know someday soon she will expand her vocabulary, and that she will not always want me and thank goodness she won’t forever be crawling all over me as I type anything. She will look at other faces more than mine…someday. And she most likely will even look into a mirror, and instead of giggling, will sigh and poke and judge her reflection.
But for now I am her first mirror—my smiles becoming hers and her giggles spilling into my laughter.
I am her favorite person and she is one of mine, right along with her second word "Evan" and her "airplane" Daddy. And I wonder sometimes at this amazing design in which God allows us to be such an important person to someone else and have them be so very precious to us. What an honor and what a weight. And I don’t want to get it wrong.
So, I look in the mirror and squint to see past the wrinkles and imperfections into a soul that has beautiful dreams. And I work hard as I work out to do it with an attitude of strengthening a healthy body and not punishing a weak one. And I eat chocolate as a gift of life’s sweetness, not as a comfort for its disappointments.
And I try to serve others not to earn their approval but to give God’s overflowing affection. And I push through fears so that my daughter will know fears aren’t walls that trap us. And I remember to soak in a love from God that never ends, hoping she will someday start accepting a love she'll never have to earn.
And I try not to forget that she sees myself seeing myself, and that will someday influence how she sees herself.
And when it’s hard and I forget and I see only mistakes and gray hairs and lacking, I don’t have to go far to remember who I am to her. I see her watching me, with love, not judgment, with acceptance, not criticism, with boldness, not fear.
As I sit and stare into the short, toddling reflection, my soul sings and my smile widens as I see myself with Renea’s eyes. And she smiles back with her whole body, her curls bouncing and her face shining like the sun.