Sunday, February 05, 2006

A long and lovely day

My church had a guest preacher whose sermon on costly discipleship literally raised gooseflesh on my arms with its meaning and personal significance. I've been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer this last week, and that congruence came as a not so subtle hint that I need to delve deeper into this. Afterwards, we had a potluck lunch that filled me with good food and good talk. The more I get involved in this church the more impressed I am. There is a wonderful combination of closeness among the members, true welcome to newcomers and a commitment to tangible service -- feeding the hungry, visiting people in prison and helping them get on their feet after they get out, prayer groups unobtrusively available in intensive care units, services in nursing homes where people can't get out to go to a church, a service each week where conversation and prayer focuses on the real needs, inspirations and insights of its members and guests. I am just filled with gratitude tonight that after years of solitary worship and resentment towards churches that I have found a church that does feel like home.

This coming weekend, my daughter attends her first formal dance. Finding the right dress and accessories has been a major concern, and my schedule has delayed our shopping. This afternoon, we drove by one of our favorite shops, and on the spur of the moment I asked if she wanted to stop and look. With just a small section of formal wear, I wasn't expecting much, but she tried on about eight dresses. Seeing my daughter transform from a girl to a woman in five minutes took my breath away. I knew the youth was still there, but the shadow of the woman to be stepped to the foreground. She stepped out of the dressing room in a strapless dress with narrow black and white banding on the bodice that got subtly broader towards the waistline, revealing a figure that blue jeans have left to the imagination. My first thought was, boy, am I in trouble. Where did this sophisticated young woman come from? Hers was that she hated her arms. With dress after dress, some other body part would come under criticism. We eventually bought a black dress with a not inappropriately deep V-neckline, an inset band at the hips, and an asymmetrical hemline. She wasn't satisfied but thought that it would do. She's come so far with body image issues, but it still hurts to see them surface. Her favorite song right now is Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Woman, and its lyrics hit me hard when she cried in the car on the way home.

Tonight though those tears turned to smiles. While I settled in for an evening of reading blogs and her father watched the Superbowl, she went to another church's youth group party. When I picked her up, she smiled, said look and showed me her hand. Her Claddagh ring had been turned crown up by the young man who also changed her plans about going to the dance with her group of girlfriends. I can't help feeling happy for her. There's nothing like that rush of having your first boyfriend when you're at an age to have a clue what it means. I also know that this means changes in the parenthood department, and I have the feeling that this just might be a wild ride.

Right now, I'm sweetly sleepy but still resistant to heading off to bed. I want to savor the highs and lows of this day. I want to soak a little while in the richness of a simple day in a simple life. Though the list of concerns and worries, plans and strategies is still in the background of my mind, it seems far away. There will be time enough to deal with all of that. Complications will have to wait until daylight. The rest of the night is just for me.


Blogger Theresa Williams said...

I have so often wondered what it would be like to have a daughter. I do so enjoy reading about your relationship with your daughter.

February 06, 2006 1:09 AM  
Blogger Celeste said...

Ahh the joys of finding just the right dress! Your daughter is growing up to be a wonderful woman thanks to the wonderful mother she has.

February 06, 2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger beths front porch said...

Your comments about your daughter reminded me what it felt like to have my sons at that age. It is a remarkable and poignant time. Thank you for sharing.

February 06, 2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger Gabreael said...

That is great. That is the way it should be. They should be like a second family to you.


February 06, 2006 5:44 AM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

It IS a wonderful time. Both of my dd's high school formal dresses were pink -- the young woman could never shed the little girl. Then the other night she sent me a picture from a frat house at Tulane -- she's switched to a glittery black top. Enjoy her presence before she flies off!

February 06, 2006 7:39 AM  
Blogger Vicky said...

What a sweet, rich day for you, Cynthia!! May your daughter ascend the years of teenagehood relatively unscathed - and I wish the same for you! How beautiful she sounds in her first formal dress! I well remember seeing my sons in their suits (not quite the same experience, but similar in meaning) going off to the formals, corsages in hand. Oh, my...

February 06, 2006 8:50 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I have to say, all the dresses I've seen out there for young girls are either strapless or have spaghetti straps. What if you really DO have ugly arms? Why do they all have to look alike? I don't remember us being quite so "cloned" in the fashion department when I was a kid. But then, that was a long time ago...and I never went to any formal dances when I was in high school.

That said, I'm sure she'll look phenomenal.

February 06, 2006 10:24 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

I once found a church like that, I felt like I was home. When I moved I was heart broken to leave, but the sermons, which were fantastic, were on the web. I miss the fellowship out here in the stix :(

I have a garment bag full of those dresses that always brings a smile to my face. For me it was a rough ride, but there were always those special times :)

Much love and good times for you both.

February 07, 2006 3:09 PM  

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