My Barnacle Daughter


My 10-year old daughter draped on my left arm is where I usually find her these days. Always pressing against me, I lovingly call her my Barnacle. For a couple of months, I haven’t been able to turn to the side without tripping over her. When I’ve finally had enough, I say “barnacle!” and she scatters; that’s her cue to give me space. But more and more, I’ve come to accept Meredith’s need to be so close to her mother. This phase of physical nurturing will end long before I’m ready. 

Perhaps our pending trip to Honduras had something to do with her increasing closeness. Or perhaps this trip was a gift for us both as we approach that precipice of the teen years. Whatever the case may be, my Barnacle has been a delightful travel companion. Our first day required us to be awake and out the door before 5:30 am. After three airports, two flights, and a two hour ride in the hot van, we arrived at our hotel. Always adventurous, Meredith was immediately ready to explore our home away from home. 

We spent our first two full days at the children’s village, getting to know the kids, learning dozens of names and faces, and battling house-fly sized mosquitoes and 100% equatorial humidity. My daughter has amazed me at every step. Especially those that took her away from me. My near-constant companion has been largely on her own, playing games, helping the kids write letters to their sponsors, teaching boys to make friendship bracelets, helping house mommies make fresh tortillas. Before she even met the kids, she volunteered to lead a devotional for the whole group, then practiced for two days to be ready. 

I am so proud of this young lady and grateful to watch her in an element that suits her so well. Her cheerfulness, teamwork, and commitment to the task inspire me to work harder. Her desire to know God’s Word and to share His truths encourages my anxious mother’s heart. But her God-given potential matched with her internal drive terrify me. As much as I want her to grow into the woman she is meant to be, I dread when I no longer feel the press of my little Barnacle.

So for now, we will make memories enough to carry us both …

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