I took my daughter to Target. All by herself.
We are a homeschooling family, which means we do everything together. Everything. This has its perks and is one of the reasons we chose this journey in the first place. But sometimes I think it means we get a little less one on one time…maybe we have to fight a little harder to get a child alone.
Of course, maybe with drop off, pick ups, and after school practice, it is a challenge for all of us…no matter our choices regarding education.
Either way, this moment, for us, is somewhat of a rarity.
I had noticed my oldest was crying more than usual and seemed a little overwhelmed with life in general. She asked if we could please go somewhere alone.
I knew what she meant. I know a little something about overwhelmed.
So we headed to Target. She needed stickers for an art project she wanted to complete and I, personally, think Target is a joyful place. For whatever reason.
We purchased hot chocolate, shopped for stickers, rifled through clearance notebooks, and conversed about nothing in particular.
That trip was hard for me.
I wanted to say so many things. I wanted to tell her how proud I was of her. That I know it’s hard being the oldest and bearing more responsibility than you feel should be yours. I wanted to ask her if she was okay. If I was doing anything right. I wanted to drill her about her lessons. Does she like school? Is it too hard? Too easy? What books would she like to read next year? I wanted to break down her ever-present walls and march straight into her heart.
But she’s not that kind of girl.
She is quiet. Contemplative. She’ll talk to you about what she wants to say…when she’s ready. And if you pry? She clams up. It’s too much…all the asking and prying.
This is the child who, weeks after they are over, shares stories of hurt and confusion with me. Usually in the dark. She needs time to process life before discussing it.
She is exactly like her father.
I’ve had to learn, being a woman of loud and abundant speech, that souls like these are precious. These are not hearts into which you can rush with your questions and encouragement and verbose professions of love.
You say it once. You say it clear. And you let them be.
So we just went. We went for the sake of just being with no motive on my part and no expectations placed upon her.
As the trip came to an end, we marched into the open air, longing now for the comfort that is home. There, in the descending dark, swirling swiftly and magically, the last snowstorm of the year fell upon us. We rushed about, catching snowflakes on our tongues, looking for the car that I always lose and she always finds, and played together in the moisture-laden night.
We didn’t have an earth-shattering conversation. We didn’t discuss Scripture or life or love or happiness or any matters of the heart. I didn’t pepper her with questions or gush about how wonderful she was or lay my insecurities at her ill-prepared feet. I refused the well inside me that was bursting forth with lamentations and praise about life and about faith.
We went to Target. We walked together. We chased snowflakes in the dark.
And it was enough.