She comes to me, shy and fidgety as I’m fixing dinner. I know something is brewing in the mind, puzzle pieces coming together so I wait for her to spill it out. Long hair streaming in the evening light she is a shadow of the babe I used to carry. Everyone said it would go fast like a streak of lightning across the sky, this growing up, this growing old. It feels a mere days not years since I diapered and clothed, rocked and consoled this young girl now tiptoeing on the edge of womanhood. The words come. How she felt a tug in the heart to reach to the one in the class unloved, never chosen. Decided it would be good to take a chance, pick someone new for a game. She tells me how they grabbed their words and finished their work, how she realized when it was all over, they were the first ones done. She says “you know mom, that girl has never finished first, never known what it feels to shine.” My heart swells and beats faster, the eyes leak and I remember days of hard planting. Days when you keep on sowing never knowing if the seeds are taking root and you dig up the soil of the heart and keep throwing them down in rows and you toss yourself in bed watering them with prayers of the weary. We talk and talk, this little girl turning young woman, how Jesus chose the least, the unloved, the less than lovely. Went to them. Chose them. Loved them. Lived among them. And I whisper how I’ve prayed and wept that these three I’ve born would lead the way to Love. With arms open wide would choose to care for the downtrodden, the less than lovely, the ones who’ve been cast aside, ignored. That this wounded world bleeding from sin and sorrow would be bandaged up in the hope of the Gospel. I hug and we smile and our hearts are soaring and somehow in my mother’s heart I sense a coming of age.