“Do you ever feel bad about yourself?” she asks, lashes swooping over her eyes.
I turn from my mirror, mascara wand suspended mid-air. I am looking in the mirror at her, a reflection so beautiful and precious to me, my heart falls fathoms deep when I see those eyes well, wet with pain.
Her face is flushed red with summer heat, and her braid has come loose leaving sweat kissed wisps of hair around her face.
“Why boo? Do you feel bad about yourself?” I whisper
“Sometimes, like today. I was last and I had to stop. And this,” she points to her belly pushing forward under her running club shirt.
And I can’t speak. I pull her into my arms and run my fingers through her hair and smell the sunshine on her skin.
I think of the park and the kids, all limbs and gangly strides looping around the track and I see her slow to a jog, and then walk. I see the pack run on, a swarm of elbows, knees, and Nike’s. And she falls behind further.
She meets my eyes for a second across the track and I give her a thumbs up as younger kids fly by her. She begins to trot again and each step hurts me because her head is down.
“I do sweetie, I do sometimes feel bad about myself.” I concede.
She draws back and our eyes meet.
“I wish I could tell you I don’t, but the truth is that sometimes I listen to those lies that tell me I’m not good enough. Do you know what I have to do then?” I ask her.
“What?” She presses her head into my side and finds the spot where she fits right beneath my arm, right next to my heart. And I wish I could shelter her here forever. I wish I could clasp her head on my breast and let her hear how my heart beats for her.
“I remember how God made me and I remember that He thinks I’m the most fabulous Alia he’s ever made and he knows what he’s talking about. So who should I listen to, me or him?”
A smile spreads across her face and I see her two front teeth and I think of the braces that will be on them and how she’ll look older and she’ll grow more and every day in this world she’ll face this. Am I enough? Am I worthy?
It’s a burden carried on the shoulders of this broken world, we all fall and grasp at redemption.
“I think of how God made you, Kaia. Kind and brave, faithful and creative. I love your mind and how you work so hard no matter what. I love your art and the way you always share, always. I love that you always care if someone is sad and you want to make them feel better. I love that you bring mommy coffee in the morning and put kisses in it.”
“Do you want to hear a funny story?” I ask.
She looks up, brown eyes clear and sparkling, lashes wet and nods her head.
“Let me tell you about the time mommy ran cross-country in high school. God gave me big legs with lots of muscles to go really fast for about 50 yards but he didn’t give me good lungs. When I would run the cross-country trails, I wanted to throw up in my mouth every single time.”
“Ewww, that’s gross mommy,” she giggles.*
“And one time I just wanted to stop because I was so far behind I thought I’d never catch up but I heard something behind me and I thought it might be a rattlesnake. I ran so fast I caught up to my friends and I was trying to tell them what I heard but I was too out of breath. I fell back a lot.”
“You did?” she asks.
“Yup, but you know what? I sure could run fast, because that’s how God made me.“
“I can run fast, my legs are big too!” she says looking at her legs, brown with summer.
“Yes baby, just like mommy.”
*This post took 8 minutes because I stink at typing quotations and because I wanted to finish it.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a
Five Eight Minute Friday but I’m so glad to be joining this week.
You know the drill.
Five Minutes. No over thinking. No major editing. No trying to get it perfect. Just let your writing be enough. Then link up with the fabulous group of writers doing the same over at Lisa Jo Bakers and be sure to check out others and give ’em some encouragement.