Gideon was a breeze. When Gideon was born, we already had two children, and we knew it was time to have the third, so we walked out into the field one misty morning and casually spread out so we could thump some little boy melons. “Here’s a nice fat one!” one of us called. “No, how about this tall one over here?” But we took our time and finally the four of us stood in a small circle smiling down at a little curly haired boy in a pile of leaves. He seemed curious and strange but his eyes sparkled, and he finally winked at us awkwardly, holding his eye shut far too tightly for far too long. And that’s how we knew he was the one we were looking for. We loaded him into the back of the car and went home, stopping on the way to buy some bubbly sodas at the gas station in celebration.
Lydia was a little more complicated. She was much too eager to join our family. She jumped up and down in the hallway and checked her princess wristwatch every 30 seconds. “Come on!” We could hear her yelling. “When do I get to go?” She seemed not to hear the gentle booming command to be patient. She pressed her eye up against the keyhole of life and leaned into it. But she suddenly discovered that the door was not fully latched, and she came tumbling head over heels into the room unannounced, sprawling onto the floor and looking completely stunned. Somewhere in the universe there was the heaviest sigh ever heard followed by a soft chuckle. We lifted her up and she looked past us at the world with a wide smile. This is what she had been waiting for. This was where she belonged. And sitting in the corner, waiting to greet her was a little woman that offered a gentle hand and introduced herself, “Hello there Lydia. My name is Clara. I am your sister now.”
Clara. Clara had already been here a while at that point, and Clara had not arrive like that. Clara was different. Clara took her time. While we were waiting by the front door, tapping our toes anxiously watching for her, she was still miles down the road, not even having started on her journey yet. She was having deep conversations with old friends. Making them tea. Crocheting them pot holders, even though they did not own pots. She just couldn’t stand the thought of leaving so soon. And even if she did want to leave and join her new life and her family, what on Earth was she going to wear? The pink dress or the blue one? And where were her shoes? And Oh you just don’t even understand how important first impressions are, she can’t just meet her mom and dad with wet hair, could she? No. So, finally, we had to go out looking for her and when we found her we had to lovingly force her into the car, and drag her along, wet hair and all, while she explained, loudly, and stubbornly, that she was going to come on her own, she just needed to be given time to plan everything and say goodbye to her friends again. I think she might still be a little upset about that. And who can blame her, really?
But that is one of the things I love about Clara. Because she didn’t waste any time at all after getting here before she was already teaching her mother and me about the worth of relationships and giving other people your full attention and time. Time, beyond any that could ever exist. And although it has become a mantra of mine to roll my eyes at the little girl and remind her, over and over again, “Clara, you cannot simply create time.” She seems to prove me wrong constantly. As she shares more of it than the universe should even contain.
“Do you want to be an adult this evening and play a game at the table, or be a child and play a game with your sister and cousin?” I asked her, just tonight.
And she confidently replied, “Both.” without hesitation. Both. Be a child and be an adult all in the same evening. And with focussed energy and attention, she was able to pull it off, with grace. Loving without inhibitions. No holding back. Boundless. Limitless. Timeless.
As of today, she has completed her 9th trip around the sun. But who is counting? Certainly not Clara.