For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalm 91:11 (King James Version)
I've known about her since I met him, one of the first things he told me about was his daughter. How she was in his thoughts and prayers, even though she isn't in his life. That she might be back in his life once again, and that we would have to be there for her. I knew about her from that first day, and the first thing he put up in our house was a photo of her on our fridge.
It is always there - when we have moved, when we spring clean or renovate. Her photo is there, the last one he got before her Mom took her away from that part of her family. Our fridge is the map of our days - magnets from places and of letters and pictures, photos of people we love, recipes, notes, cartoons, the magnetic markers of our lives. It's a mess but everything on it has importance, and value.
How do you tell a teenager, full of angst, worry and un-admitted fear, that she has been in our lives and prayers, even before we got to talk to her and make a connection? How can I help her understand that I love and care for her because she is his child? That her life matters and we pray for her and her Mom always, for her Grandparents and her family? That her tough exterior isn't fooling us? How can we get close when her first mode of defense is to push away? When the first words are to start a fight?
We pray a lot, we keep trying, little things like chat and text, coffee and asking to visit...putting out invitations, and accepting rejections knowing they are not personal. Choosing not to fight, not to embrace the past or the negative. We want to be there because we care, and we can be patient and wait for her to be ready.
She is more than the girl on the fridge, but that's how she started. Dark hair and dark eyes, a smile so much like his. She is the girl who has been on the fridge because she is in our hearts, she is the girl in our lives and in our prayers. We care about her, and we fear for her that her paths will take her places where we cannot protect her. We try to visualize how her, in all her dimensions, can feel welcome and a part of our family. We try to understand how is is the person she is today, and how we can get to know her.
It isn't an easy thing but many things that are worthwhile are not easy, indeed most are not. She doesn't know it yet, but we have been waiting for her for a long time. She is the girl on the fridge, but she is also the girl in our hearts, and the girl who has a place in our lives. Even if she isn't ready to take that place, it's been there since we started this journey together and it will be there waiting for her always.