+[this night]+

Layered outfits lay on my bed ready to be packed.

Upstairs hers are already packed - have been for days.

This night, thirteen years ago, I labored to bring her into this world. Her father beside me in everyway.

This night, here and now, I hold her face in my hands once more - silently saying goodbye to the child who has taught me of motherhood. On the morrow she will be thirteen.

Her father has her first, for a day of special sweetness and a presentation of the purity ring that he chose for her. It feels, in many ways, like when he proposed to me as I hear him talk though all he will share with her.

And then she is mine...for the next few days. We will hike and climb and be, just the two of us. We will talk of many things to come in her life and I will paint before her in word. And we will pray and laugh and dance and feast!

But one last time this night...before we walk her to the edge of the forest that is the teen years tomorrow...I paused and held her face in my hands just once more. She saw my smiling eyes. I saw years and years of precious, sacred memories.

Before the sun rises a teen will be born.

Thank you Lord...for every moment.