We meet as often as we can. It is rare. We have been separated by many miles for many years. We squeeze every minute of joy that we can out of shared moments. It is truly a "quality not quantity" type of relationship, this daughter of mine and I have.
We met a few years ago in Pennsylvania. A member of the family was going to wed. Ashli arrived for the wedding by train. Anticipation welled up as I saw her walk through the depot. Her daddy took her luggage from her and placed it in our rental car. She hopped in and our very special weekend got a million times better.
She and I stayed up until the wee hours that night. This is what we do. At some point there was a bit of a lull in conversation. We were resting and enjoying just being in the presence of one another. It was then that she reached in her bag and said, "I made something for you."
She drew out a sketchbook. Neither one of us really has the gift of sketching. Even our stick people drawings look rough and tumbly at best.
It was a large, spiral sketchbook, with only about 20 pages with her fingerprints on them. The rest were pristine, white pages still waiting for script or scrawl.
She had filled the first 20 pages with beautiful, precious thoughts. Thoughts about us. Thoughts about life. She had cut out pictures, glued them in . . . illustrating story and thought. It was so special and beautiful. My heart swelled to overflowing.
She gave the book to me with instruction. "Now you fill 20 pages, Mom, and give it to me next time we meet."
And so I did.
I found the most special, beautiful, wonderful things I could find and placed them on those twenty pages that were assigned to me. Our little book that had been about an inch and a half thick grew thicker. Poetry, photography, fashion, food, fun, family, faith . . . so much to share about.
We did this many times. She created 20 pages, then she would give the book to me. I would create 20 more pages and give it back to her. When our book was full it was nearly 18 inches thick, and weighed about twenty-five pounds.
It is a treasure. An amazing and incredible treasure.
It was a span of time before our book was finished. Our hearts were knit at a new level by the time we reached the final pages.
She and I had lunch a few days ago. "We need to start a new book," she says.
Our new book will be smaller this time. We will not be able to meet very often, so it will have to be. We will have to illustrate with words only. She gave me a little book filled with blank pages for Christmas this year. "We can use this, momma," she says.
And so, I will begin our journal this time, then send it by post when a few pages are complete. Excuse me, I have to go for now. There are some pristine white pages calling my name.
Happy New Year to all! May it be a favorite. I pray that, if you keep a journal, you will have many happy and wonderful things to write about. God's best blessings to you and yours.