I celebrated my wife two days ago on our anniversary, and today I get to celebrate the other girl in my life on her birthday...my sweet 7-year-old daughter...Callie Jakin Mashburn.
Some of you might not know that that the name "Callie" means "Beauty." Fewer still probably know that "Jakin" means "God Establishes."
That is my sweet C.J. - she is the "Beauty that God Establishes."
This morning, as she ran over next to my bed, I rose up to my elbows and asked her if I could ask her something. With that big smile, she said yes.
“Can I come have lunch with you today at school?”
Now maybe the day will come when this is THE LAST thing my daughter wants…to be seen with her dad at school (wow, I’m really looking forward to that, let me tell ya). But for now, I get to enjoy her sheer excitement about such a simple gesture of time together.
With her mouth opened wide, and an uncontrollable jumping up and down seizure, she said “yes!” interrupted abruptly with the very serious request (demand, maybe) of “I want Chic-Fil-A”.
I left the office at 11:15. Got her food, and was there a couple of minutes before her class would arrive in the cafeteria. Her big brother Shade was at a special dining table, decorated and joined by 5 other students up on the stage, with their own dining music. He had purchased this special lunch with his “Belmar Bucks” (dollars he earns at Belmar Elementary for good behavior).
Then in came Callie. She grabbed my hand and took me right over to our own table. I tell ya, when I slow down and look in the face of my daughter, I’m just floored with awe. She is so beautiful. Inside and out. Her heart bubbles with excitement and energy. Her deep red hair is so sharp, noticed by everyone (a teacher had to stop and touch it today as she passed the table), and frames such deep eyes, and a photo frame cute smile. When I slow down and look at Callie, I’m just so honored to get to be with her.
We had a lively conversation, ranging from the sleepover b-day party she’s having tomorrow night, to what she did in class this morning, to how much she likes her teacher Mrs. Embry. And almost as if the stars are just aligned for her benefit today, her big brother descends from his high and honorable perch up on the stage just to come over and get Callie’s attention. He stands her up and gives her a big hug and says “Happy Birthday, Callie”. Wow. Big brother, 2 years older, in front of God and all his classmates, hugging his sis.
She was already glowing, but now she just sat down and slowly reached for her next chicken nugget with a quiet smile and sober radiance that made me think she was enjoying a feeling that she couldn’t put words to. The feeling of assurance…confirmation of what mom and dad try to tell her all the time…evidence that is making her believe, if only for a moment, a truth that is assaulted viciously all the time…“I must really…no, really…I must really, actually be…special.”
Yes, yes you are, Callie.
I couldn’t resist. I said, “You know you are very special, right, Callie?”
She cocked her head sideways with a coy smile and said, “Yes.”
I love you very much, Callie. Thank you for letting me accompany you on another year of adventure, growth, and love.