My beautiful baby, Taylor ...
Taylor has been a spirited, fiery eyed girl with sharp wit and tongue her entire life long. She could win a heart over with her beautiful smile and turn your heart to a puddle with a simple coy look as a toddler. She was a sweet cherub of a baby with rosy round cheeks and soft blonde hair. She was middle in length and weight of my three babies, but she remained petite and "babyish" longer than the other two children in our home.
She has grown with opinions and is never afraid to express them. She is a determined girl of strong faith and conviction. She knows what she believes. She is not likely to let you talk her out of it.
Last year I got a note from one of her substitutes commending her for doing Bible study in her spare time at school. She said that it is rare to see a young person so committed to her faith in public schools. Her life is full of these moments. She still has a strong relationship with her first "boyfriend's" mother. He is still a friend to her. They first met in Mrs. Jones' first grade class. He courted Taylor through several years of elementary and intermediate school. His mom often threatened to trade him off for Taylor, but we never came close to negotiating that deal. Taylor has been his parents surrogate daughter ever since.
After her childhood sweetie, there were not many boys who caught her eye. A few jerks in middle school tried to win her over, but she soon saw their true colors and had nothing to do with them. In high school she has dealt with the difficulties a young girl might face in losing her older brother in a car accident. She moved to a new school and well, considered most of that population pure heathen from the start. She was not likely to find a boyfriend there. She found a few suiters, but they were not her caliber of boy. Most were troubled and turned out to be interested in primarily making other girls jealous. Her heart broken, she swore them off.
The last two boys she brought home to meet with us were of Asian descent. I began to realize she is drawn to this beautiful, olive skinned ethnicity. She feels them out by bringing them home to hang out. Most of them do not last long. I used to laugh at my girls who thought a 19 year old's interest in a 16 year old was the worst kind of cradle robbing and completely obscene. They had one word for it - PED-O-FILE.
I used to tell them that in a few years they would see the age difference differently. Brittany has a beau a year older than she, but Taylor prefers an older boy. I knew she would.
Then came her calling ...
Last spring, she returned home from church and said, "Mom, hang up the phone I need to tell you something."
I thought she was going to tell me some great story about her ride home from church. When I held up one finger and did not close my call quickly enough she burst out with a giddy laugh, "I'm going to Uganda."
My heart must have skipped a beat as my jaw dropped. "Mary, I have to go."
I could still feel the aftershocks of her statement bouncing through my body. "What? What do you mean Uganda?"
She gushed on about the church service and worship and how she received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. She said she wept and wept and wept and suddenly she just felt she knew what she needed to do. She had watched videos all day the afternoon before on the Invisible Children website. Invisible Children rescues Ugandan children who are forced into military service at early ages and horribly abused. She opened the Bible and read her verse of confirmation to me. She has been so excited. Pictures of Ugandan girls laughing grace her walls along with pictures of birds ...
She is like a bird - seeking to soar to higher heights and not too concerned with venturing far away from home. I have believed as she had confessed that she might be called to single-ness. I have jokingly said that my baby Taylor will never marry, but instead that fiery blonde is going to live in the Ugandan countryside teaching these beautiful children and if I want to see my grandbabies that I might just have to go to Africa to see my adopted Ugandan grandchildren. I'm so excited about that.
Last week she asked if Daniel could come over and hang out here at the house. I thought it was a friend of hers who is in a local Christian band. He is like a big brother to her. I said, "Sure."
Then it struck me ... Something about her was different. She was very nearly giddy. Brittany said, "I think Daniel likes her and she likes him."
Taylor talked to him for fifteen minutes before I asked, "Is this Daniel - Daniel?
My eldest laughed, she said, "No, he is the worship pastor at church." (She does not attend Gateway with us.)
"How old is he?"
"Taylor, two years ago that would have been repulsive."
She laughed, "I'm an adult now."
I started to leave the room and stopped. I turned around and said, "Wait, I do have one question. Is he Asian?"
Both girls laughed out loud. My eldest high-fived me.
"How did you know that?"
"Taylor has a thing for Asian kids."
When Taylor told Daniel about our conversation, he said I was the coolest mom. He said, "She had me at 'Is he Asian?'"
Tonight, my baby Taylor is going on her first real date. Daniel has planned a splendid evening for her and kept it all a secret. She was seen scuttling out of the house after we went for a walk with the dog in the cutest little shift of a dress. It was modest but adorably chic and cute. She needed a belt. She returned home disappointed. NO Belt.
I offered her a black grosgrain ribbon that I use as a belt - it was the perfect touch. He arrived and swept her out for a night on the town. I must say that in recent months I've been very impressed with the young men my daughters are bringing home. Brittany's story about her Michael is equally as precious. All I can say about Michael is that he required her to take some time and ask God if they should date. He is a blessing to her in so many ways.
Where did the time go? It was only a little while ago that Brittany Bear was sitting in front of the television memorizing the last line of commercials and Justin was stuffing his baby, Taylor, under the bed hiding her there so they could play.
I love being their mom.