Last weekend, I spent a good portion of the day helping my daughter get ready for prom. If you have a daughter and have ever had the privilege of helping her get ready for a special day like this, you’ll know a bit of what I experienced.
The height of preparations brought us to a local hair salon, where her hair and face were fussed over to make her prom-ready. This is not a typical day in our lives. It was definitely an extraordinary day.
I sat near, because, well, she seemed to want me there, and I wanted to be there. The day had been one big rush. I’d started out at the tennis courts, where her sister had played in her first varsity match, and after nails and lunch with prom girl, I was interviewed on a live national Catholic radio show. In fact I was in my van sitting in front of the salon during the interview, which was to end the same time as her appointment began.
Rush here, rush there, stop for interview, and now…here we were. I could finally relax, for a little while anyway, and let the beautician do her thing. I caught up on my newspaper reading, emails, and watched with fascination as the hair technician curled, pinned and threaded her hair.
At one point, she looked over at me so I could see the makeup status. And, well, I was not prepared. I’m pretty sure my breathing stopped for a moment, and maybe my heart, too.
It’s one of those moments that catches you off guard. In the hustle and bustle of a busy day, you somehow miss what is really going on. Not just with her, but with me. I couldn’t hold my gaze long, because I felt if it did, I might lose it.
They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and when she glanced my way, seeking some kind of affirmation, what could I say except the obvious. “You’re…beautiful.”
The moment stood still; it was both a look forward and a look back. Yes, I was looking at my oldest daughter, 17, getting ready for her junior prom. But there was something deeper going on. Another time and place, another day at a different beauty salon…and my heart melts to remember it, and of all we have been through together, and will go through.
You’ve probably been there yourself a time or two, when someone special looks at you and the moment freezes in your mind as significant, as worthy of time standing still, as an eternal visual that arrests the heart.
These kinds of days don’t come along often, and when they do, it’s important to gaze deeply and lovingly, while you can.
I will always remember the moment when her eyes met mine, there in that high chair with the sun hitting her face just so, and the world stopping, and the stark recognition deep inside that she is truly a gift straight from the hand of God, and even though life hasn’t been easy at times, nothing could ever change how much I love her and how grateful I am that she is in my life.
Sunday is Mother’s Day, but the gift for me has already arrived, times five.
Q4U: What was a time-stands-still moment for you?