A crash in the other room gives me a jolt as I stir the pasta sauce. I freeze and listen for tears, laughter, screaming or all of the above. When giggles erupt, my body relaxes and I resign to the thought that these two rough-and-tumblers need to release some energy after their school work is done. A minute later, Emily and her little brother enter the kitchen by rolling over each other.
I taste-test the sauce and it's just the right amount of spicy--just like my girl. Like gentle oregano, she can add flavour to a group of children who are looking for something to do. Leave her with them long enough and all that cajun comes out and she's got the whole room dancing or engaged in hide-and-seek in the dark, complete with sound effects so kids can be easily found.
She turned eight the other day. Does that seem little to you? Because this small package already shares with us her desire to go to Africa, how she longs to live there and be with the people. Last year she told us she wishes she was black and she has dreams at night of passing out food for orphans. I imagine her at twenty and she's not home with me but out in the world, learning how fantastically God created various people groups and how she'll love and appreciate them. She has a philanthropist's heart but I think she already senses there's more her recipients will offer her.
We celebrate her birthday with a cupcake party. Her friends, siblings and cousins ice theirs amidst giggles. She's behaving with wit and sillyness and maturity at the same time. She's the fragrance of a little girl who's growing up too quickly for my taste but I release these feelings with the gentle nudging of God's assurance that He's "got her back". I'm praising God for her life in the biggest way as little voices begin to sing "Happy Birthday, dear Emily".