She cries and begs, "Please don't go! Don't go to work!"
I explain in words too vague for the four year old clinging to my leg.
It's hard to leave.
She wipes away the tears and follows me to the kitchen.
Her tiny hands reach for fruit and she packs my lunch with a banana pulled from the bunch.
Strawberries spill on the floor and she finds one rolled under the cabinet.
"You need one more strawberry, Mom." It goes in the ziploc - lint and all.
They walk me outside and cover me with kisses. The crisp air grabs her arms and she runs away - back inside to the steaming oatmeal waiting on the table.
I spend my day under papers and phone calls. Constantly trying to lasso my thoughts back in - I don't want to be here.
Arriving home, I am wrapped with legs and arms. "Hug me, Mom!"
She gets right to the point. "Popcorn?"
She is hungry and knows I am too.
All the ingredients are at her fingertips and she teeters on the chair to reach for them. I turn on the burner while she carries the large pot across the room and then the oil. Finally the chair is pulled up next to me and she stands, waiting.
My baby isn't such a baby anymore. She doesn't flail her arms and cry when she wants something. She stands up, moves the chair closer, and reaches for herself.
She is wholly in charge of her life and yet not at all.
Like me, she answers to something higher than herself. My yays and nays are the joy and bane of her existence. 98% of her asking is for more.
Yes, you can watch one more show. Yes, I'll read another book. No, you can't take another bath today.
She is sucking the life out of everything she encounters. And I don't mean that in the sense I usually say that. She is asking what portion is hers. She is pulling, begging, hoping that her portion is more.
More from me. More technology. More friends. More entertainment. More games. More reading. More food. More laughter. More warmth. More life.
She begs for more.
I am taking hints from her and I, too, am begging.
I want more. More time. More joy. More peace.
More out of the things I encounter.
I have lived too long ignoring the life around me or accepting what I already have. This will do.
My eyes are wide. There is more.
I am welcoming peace in the typical moments of desperation and asking for more determination.
Order my steps. No flailing or crying. Move the chair closer and reach.
It's easy to feel the victim when you can't get what you need. When you can't reach for it yourself.
But unlike popcorn and oil and large pots - the things I am reaching for aren't located anywhere but within my own heart. A loving God has supplied all I need. (And continues to do so!)
Anger and frustration arrive when I've chosen to be angry and frustrated. Peace and joy are there for the taking just as much as the uglier counterparts. It all resides inside.
I am learning, much like a child, how to get more.
First, don't I have to believe MORE exists?
Then I must believe it is available to me. For the asking. The reaching.
I pray that as my daughter grows, she continues to reach for what she needs. I pray she learns by watching me.