I’ve known her all her life. I held her just hours after her birth, and in the weeks and months that followed, snatched her from her mother every chance I got. I clapped when she took her first steps, squealed over her first words, and laughed when she mastered my name. Even now, I love to hear four-year old Hannah say, “Hello, Shannon.”
Sometimes, when I arrive early at church, I’ll pull my car into a slot near the front door and spot her standing in the foyer, looking out the window. On occasion, she simply waves and shoots me that dimple-speckled grin of hers. I always wave back, and hope that by the time I reach the front door, she’s still standing there so I can get a hug.
Other times, Hannah isn’t content to wave. She bolts out the front door and down the steps, shouting my name as she runs. That was the case yesterday. When Tera and I arrived for our homeschooling co-op meeting, Hannah spied me before I spied her. I heard my name floating across the yard, over and over, “Shannon! Shannon! Shannon!” Hannah flew toward me, pink poncho swinging as she pumped her arms, her long, blonde curls escaping her pony tail and dancing in rhythm. I opened the car door just as she reached me. Her arms were wide … her smile wider. And Hannah clutched me like she hadn’t seen me in a month of Sundays.
How lovely to be loved. How it touches my heart to feel the embrace of those tiny arms, to hear her sigh in contentment that we’re together again. And how much emptier my life would be without the love of that little girl.
Her hello stayed with me all through the meeting. I thought of it again last night, just before I turned out my light. But then I remembered something else. I remembered how hurried I’d been yesterday morning, trying to gather everything I needed for our meeting. I remembered thinking about God, but not taking the time to talk to Him, or to listen.
I remembered that instead of calling His name and running for His embrace … I’d only waved.