I was working on a critical project. With the printer humming and papers shuffling, I hardly noticed my then four-year-old daughter’s gazing eyes. When she asked for something to drink, I told her to wait and I went back to work. After a few minutes and what probably seemed like an eternity to her, she asked again. Annoyed, I let out an audible sigh, went into the kitchen, and poured her some juice.
A couple years earlier, when Gabrielle was just two, I told her that she was important to God and to me. She and her brother were miracle children. Doctors said that I would never have children unless I had surgery. I had no surgery, but conceived in my forties. I had Joshua at forty-one and Gabrielle at forty-three. I wanted her to know how special she was to God, so I daily quoted Psalm 45:13-14 to her, which states, “The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors” (NKJV). I told her she was that royal daughter.
While I watched Gabrielle sip her drink that afternoon, I couldn’t imagine that she understood what I taught her. Although I quoted the verses to her every night at bedtime, I wasn’t sure she understood. When she finished her drink, I picked her up and twirled around the kitchen floor while whispering in her ear how precious she was to me. I told her that Mommy was not looking forward to her going off to kindergarten that year and jokingly said I was thinking of keeping her at home with me. Her response sent shock waves through my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
“But Mommy, I have to go school so I won’t bother you anymore,” she said. I nearly collapsed. I held her tightly as I wept; telling her that she never bothered me. Time suddenly reminded me of my response to her when I was on a telephone call and she needed me. I remembered asking her to be quiet as she walked in with her dolls. I remembered my response when she asked me to read to her when I had an “important” project that needed my attention. I remembered each sharp look, each impatient response, and each forgotten request. Now she was ready to leave me because she thought she was bothering me.
That day, as I held her, my baby looked up at me with sparkling eyes and wiped away my tears with her tiny hands. Her words tore down the wall of important projects. They smashed the mountain of critical phone calls. They melted the glacier of accomplishment. That day, I pushed aside every distraction that kept me from sharing the last precious weeks I had with her before she went off to school. I realized that the school bells were ringing. They rang so loudly that they awakened me from my slumber. Without them, I surely would have missed important moments with my child—opportunities to make a difference in her life—that I could never recover.
I hugged her, painted with her, read to her, and loved her. After we finished, with painted hands and faces, we laughed and twirled together. When we stopped dancing, to my delight, she quoted the familiar words of Psalm 45:13-14 and said, “Yes, Mommy. We’re both daughters of the King!”
Seeing her face light up with joy, I decided that I would listen more closely for the bells and would not forget the lessons she taught me that day.
Gail M. Hayes has served as a consultant to women in the workplace by helping them to improve their relationships and become agents of change. Because of her passion for helping working women (whether they are working on an assembly line, making power decisions from the board room, or standing at a diaper-changing table), she developed the Handle Your Business Girl Empowerment Network, empowering women who want to make connections with other women.
Read more about how to make a difference in others' lives in Mary Ellis's post, Save a Starfish and Make a Difference.a Rafflecopter giveaway