Her bottom rests on the white tiles of the kitchen counter and her legs wrap round my middle.
She grapples with the weight of turning six.
"But I'm still going to live at home, right?"
"Oh yes, you'll stay with mommy for a long time."
"I'll stay with you forever."
As sweet as that sounds, I know it's not true and I correct it lightly, laughingly, "Oh no Rosy, you're too cute. Some day a man will come and ask your daddy if you can marry him."
Her concerned face relaxes, "Oh that's okay, Daddy will say no. He loves me too much to let me go."
For just a moment in that kitchen, time froze.
Her immature logic reasoned that love holds tight, love doesn't let go. But time has taught me other wise. For years my mental picture of love has been of uplifted hands, open, holding back up to God the blessings He has so lovingly given to me.
You give and take away. Blessed be Your Name.
And I know myself well enough to know the constant temptation of rolling the fingers oh-so-slowly palm-ward. The temptation to grasp. The temptation to lower the arm and pull the hand into my chest and utter that ugliest of four letter words; mine.
My heart will choose to say. Lord blessed be Your Name.
But I have also felt the consequences of those actions, of that word. And I've experienced the blessings of letting go, loving and letting go anyway. I choose the blessing.
So do many of you.
I think of my friend, who loves her God so much that she allows her three children, ages 11,13, and 15 to go to Africa and Russia this summer to serve Him.
I think of my friend who loves her God so much that she's willing to follow God's leading to a pastorate for her husband in North Dakota, transplanting her five children and starting a new life.
They choose to live the love that lets go.
The kitchen clock resumes ticking.
"Rosy, when the time comes we will send you off with joy. But right now, you're still my baby, and I'm so thankful for you."
I pull her close, try to etch into memory the green eyes, the missing teeth, the blond bangs constantly in her way. Her smell of shampoo and earth and candy.
Because she's six, and I'll never live this day with her again.
Because I love her enough to let her go.