It's a routine that will be missed. I follow Lani's blazing trail toward the Junior's section.
En route, colorful mannequins appearing to be hurled out of the eighties. I still have that belt in my closet. A chuckle escapes me.
"What's so funny, Mom?"
Lani's selections hang from my wrist until circulation in my hand warrants a fitting room visit.
She emerges in an ivory ruffle-sleeved blouse beneath a dainty black vest.
"This one, Mom. It's perfect for my senior photo."
"Mama. I want dis one. Pleeease, can I, pleeease?"
Five years old and going to kindergarten. What a big girl. Princess dresses retired, she stood before me in lemon corduroy overalls. Her outfit of choice.
"Mom, whatcha think?"
"I think you're right. It's perfect."
Content, we exit the mall while imagining what her senior year will be like.
"So, this year I can leave campus for lunch as long as I maintain a 2.0 GPA or better. It's gonna be so cool," Lani says. "Hey, Mom. You think I can drive home?"
"Put the kick stand up, silly girl. Okay. Ready. Set. Go."
Her bicycle struggles slightly before finding steadiness.
"Look at me, Mama! I'm doing it without training wheels!"
I hand Lani the keys before taking the passenger seat. The car stalls in reverse.
"E-brake," I smile.
"Oh, yea. Oops."
We enter the surface streets, hitting every other light.
"No fair, Johnny! You moved on a red light! Green is go AND red is stop. Don't you know how to play? Now you have to go back to the starting line!"
Our light turns green and Lani's momentary hesitation is a good thing.
"Did you see that, Mom? He could've caused an accident!"
"Sure did. Great save on your part."
My heart feels lodged in my throat. I swallow hard.
Glancing over, I see Lani's heart dangling from her neck. A surprise gift from Heath, meant to be broken into two parts. He wears the other half. It was only a matter of time. Her dad helped to create a secure, confident girl who needn't rush into things, especially boy relationships. Heath was her wise choice. Lani's aphorism- do nothing in haste. Heath waited patiently. One day, she said yes.
"I'm gonna go on a roller coaster today and I'm not scared at all! Butterfly kisses before I go, Daddy...and you give one to Mommy cause she's worried for me. Okay?"
"Nothing. Just looking at my daughter."
Lani brought one hand to her charm and sighed.
"Heath told me that these past eight months have only made him more certain that I'm 'the one'."
"And you? How's it going for you?"
"It's as they say, 'Reality is better than my dreams'. He makes me a better person, besides You and Dad, of course."
Both of us giggle.
"Mommy, someday I'm gonna be all growed up. I am."
Not in my eyes, baby girl. Not in mine.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.