Holly is 20

The other day I sat in church, two pews back from a young couple with a little girl who has sprouted up in recent weeks, like a tulip. She moved away from their pew, exploring the stand up fan that offered some relief on that muggy, hot Sunday. Her parents watched her closely as she moved further away still, pulling out and then crawling over what I think was a kneeler, one of those odd pieces of church furniture that looks like your grammy’s  footstool, heavily upholstered in burgundy and blue flowers. I didn’t see exactly what happened next, but I assume it involved a tumble. Like a shot her mom was there, helping her up, comforting, and steadying her back onto her little sandalled feet again.

She has yellow blonde hair and beautiful, sparkling blue eyes, like our Holly. And this week Holly turns 20. I can’t really say that it seems like only yesterday that Holly was toddling away from me at church, placing her silly putty in hymnbooks, and all kinds of those sorts of things. Because it actually feels like it really was quite a while ago.

But still, 20 has arrived at the door like a surprise.

I see that even though it was so long ago that Holly was wobbly on her feet, like that little girl on Sunday, and her hands  so tiny and plump, that in some ways at this moment we have touched down very briefly at full circle. Twenty means we watch our daughter come and go and explore new ground all the time. Every now and then she still glances back, and she finds us watching. We cheer her on, and reach out a steadying hand, only if she wants, and only when it helps.

It has all been such a gift, and on we go.

7 thoughts on “Holly is 20”

  1. Karen my daughter is a little more than twice Hollys age but every now and again she’ll look back and make sure the old man is still there. God willing I’ll be there for a while yet.

  2. Tom, that is a lovely comment. I adored my old dad and always looked to see if he was behind me still. He died 7 years ago at 95 and sometimes I still look to see if he’s got my back.

  3. Karen, well said as usual. My own little “Holly” is just behind yours — she charges ahead but I occasionally catch a glimpse of her backward glance…

    1. I love this, especially the last paragraph– this is helpful, reorienting advice for folks like me, who are parenting children getting ready to leave the nest soon, and who sometimes forget what our role should be. And so beautifully put.

      1. One of my favourite pictures of our Holly with a book on her lap! I know it wasn’t Bubba this time that she was reading too but I so remember his amazement when he realized she was reading the book! What a wonderful relationship we have with our grandchildren! Love yo9u Holly and of course, your mom, our baby and all the rest of the Stiller family~

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