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And Then There's The Slow Journey

Cora’s had a lot of milestones recently, and you can see one of the results almost constantly: she’s bursting at the seams with pride, and in her head is practically a different person that she was two weeks ago. We’ve joked that relatives won’t recognize Cora any more, and that she’s so grown up that there’s nothing left for her body to do now until high school. As we drove home from church the other day, talking in this vein, I heard Maddie say to herself quietly, “I haven’t done anything at all recently. I’m not any bigger in anything.”

I started to think about this, going back over the last few weeks, and realized that while she may not have had any spectacular fireworks moments in her life recently, Maddie is indeed a different person than she has been.

Monday morning Cora wanted to ride her bike to school – after all, she’d been practicing for TWO DAYS and was clearly a master. From the start the mission seemed doomed: Cora had a flat tire, and I had to wrestle with the thing to get it pumped back up. Then Cora had a hard go of it – nearly the whole way to school is uphill, which is brutal to a kid who has to re-start every few houses. I ended up having to walk my bike next to her so I could give Cora enough assistance.

We got to the building and into school before the bell rang, but only just. And for girls who are used to being there 10-15 minutes early, that was a wee bit stressful. But here’s the thing: Maddie never got mad. She waited silently while I pumped up Cora’s tire, then didn’t complain the whole excruciatingly slow way to school. Sometimes she’d ride next to Cora, cheering and encouraging the whole way; and sometimes Maddie would ride ahead to the end of the block, where she’d sit there quietly until we caught up.

And as I thought about Maddie and her extraordinary patience that morning, I realized I’d been seeing that more and more over the last few weeks. Cora had some leftover ice cream one afternoon and Maddie didn’t say “No fair- where’s my ice cream?” Cora would get frustrated and yell at Maddie and my big girl wouldn’t yell back. Small things like these, I realized, had been happening for a while.

So Maddie HAS changed and grown recently – only it’s the heart kind of change, that doesn’t show itself with a spectacular firework of an introduction, but rather with the sweet, slow burn that makes her a person you want to be around. A lot.

I realized Maddie’s journey has been slow and sometimes painful – we’ve been working on what it means to show honor and kindness to others all summer – but we’ve been putting one foot in front of the other faithfully, and suddenly I look around and we’re in a whole new locale.

Welcome to the next part of the journey, Baby Girl, and well done on getting here.


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