I believe it was the year I turned ten. I came home from school to find that my mother had purchased a new bedding set for me. I had used the same yellow and white set since I was a little thing, and I was ready for a change. I wanted to use all different pastel colors (that's what was in at the time). I don't remember if we had gone out looking at bedding or not, but my mother purchased the new set with lovely light shades of pink, lavender, blue, and green and had it all set up on my bed when I got home. I was surprised and flattered.
She was always good at both those things... surprising me and flattering me.
I've been thinking about that birthday all week. About the moment of happiness when I walked into my bedroom and saw what she had done. Envisioning her smile of pleasure as she watched my delight.
Today is Madlyn's eighth birthday. She wanted to freshen up her room, get rid of the pale yellow on the wall that has been there since before she was born. She picked a bold pink and black and white zebra curtains. It's very her. So I have been painting for the last two days and will finish up this morning.
I've been thinking a lot about my mom as I paint. We painted the nursery together when I was pregnant, mom taking the high parts and me taking the low. I see the little spots of yellow on the ceiling where she accidentally bumped it. I see her all over that room. And I have felt her all week as I have done something she did for me so many times in my life... doing something that is so aggravating and difficult just to make her daughter smile.
When I was still pregnant but knew I was having a girl, I questioned God a lot. Why was he entrusting me with a little girl? I just wanted another boy... that would be easier in so many ways. I felt the pressure of being an example for a girl, a scary responsibility of making sure she didn't make the same mistakes I made when I was younger. And now, eight years later, as I was rolling the sassiest shade of pink onto a twenty foot wall yesterday, it hit me.
God gave this little girl to me because He knew. He knew I would lose my mother. He knew. He wanted me to feel that mother/daughter connection long after she was gone, and what better way than to have it than with a daughter of my own. He gave me a way to displace my love for my lost mother into a relationship as meaningful and lasting as what we had. And I am so grateful.
I can't describe my relationship with Madalyn. There really are no words for it. It's a push and pull, poke a prod, laugh and scream type deal. She is spunkier that I have ever dreamed of being. She is more high maintenance than three of me. But she has this soft, philosophical side that amazes me. And with every year that goes by, we draw closer. I appreciate her so much more since I lost my mother. It has made me see her in a different way.
Thank you, Lord, for Madalyn. She is an amazing gift.