Eowyn

I wake to the rosy hues of a California dawn.
The palms whisper with excitement It's your turn, now.
I remember:

The press of fear
That carried me down the long church aisle.
(Why do I fear the good things nearly as much as the bad?)

My happy exhaustion as I first felt
Your downy head against my cheek.
My tears when the nurse took you.

Nursing you in the summer sun of Scotland,
In the crowded bleachers surrounding the eighteenth green
at Carnoustie. You were twelve days old.
How else could I keep you from crying while Arnold Palmer putted?
(How ignorant could one young mother be?)

My absolute gratitude
to Jesus that rainy day when our car went out of control
and you were thrown out.
Thank you, Jesus!
Dear Jesus.
He caught you in the air and gave you back to me,
quietly whispering,
“She’s mine.

I remember.

Your first barefoot steps on Grandma’s carpet,
your first words, so carefully enunciated, one by one.
“Readee, Read!” you would command,
Book in hand, as you backed onto my lap.

The day your two front teeth were knocked out
when you fell on the porch steps.
Your look of puzzled injury
When you had to share life with a sister.
Your first French words, shouted with conviction — “A la guerre!” “To war!”
The day you burned your hand on the heater
in the foyer of the prison in Aigues-Morte.
The afternoon you had your finger squashed in the supermarket doors.
The day you lay beside baby beans in bed -your arm out of its socket.
The stitches in your chin and the nurse's smile when you controlled
the pain by using LaMaze breathing.

Too many accidents for one sweet little girl.

I remember:

The day you stared, petrified, at the dentist's picture
of a woman's crooked teeth.
You stopped sucking your fingers that day,
without saying a word about it.
And I realized the power of your self-control.

Your silky blond hair, combed into pigtails
for your first day in school.
You gave me a quiet smile as you climbed the steps
with your bookbag strapped to your back.

The teachers would say, every April,
“I’m just getting to know Eowyn.
I wish I could keep her next year.”

I remember:

Our trip to America.
You went to Sunday School and
didn’t know what grade you were in.
“CP,” meant nothing to the children who laughed.
You got sunstroke at the Washington Zoo,
Swam in the steamy local pool in the 110 degree heat,
And still loved gymnastics.

I remember:

The beautiful chocolate cake you made
when you were nine — without a recipe.

Your quiet presence beside the babies,
as one by one, they grew up under their oldest sister’s watchful eye.

Your tears when your dad would tease you just that minute too long.

The talks we would have as you lay in your bed.
Like the teachers, I would think,
“I’m just getting to know Eowyn
I’m glad I can keep her next year.”

I remember:

The day you helped Myriam give her heart to Jesus
The day you prayed out loud in a church prayer meeting.
Your first communion.
Your wisdom as we discussed the best way to plant a church.
Your responsible help in the Sunday School.
Your faithful friendships with classmates.
How independent you were!

Corsica, Germany, the baccalaureat —
Then on to Wellesley.
I remember seeing a little girl again,
when I came to the campus and watched you for a while,
making pizzas and wearing that silly hat.
And I thought,
“I’m just getting to know Eowyn.
I wish I could have her another year.”

And now.
Your quiet faithfulness has followed me for twenty-five years
Jesus has kept all His promises.
And even when I have disappointed you,
He has kept you faithful.

May He give you three gifts as you give yourself to David:

May joy always replace fear.
May compassion always transform judgment.
May the deep love of Christ strengthen you for submission.

Today it is David’s turn to say:

I’m just getting to know you, Eowyn.
I’m glad I can keep you another year.

And in God’s goodness, perhaps you will soon know
the joy of a downy head against your cheek.
I love you, Eowyn.

Rebecca Jones lives in Escondido, CA, with her husband Peter, who teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary (CA). The Jones’ have seven children, and lived in France for eighteen years as missionaries with the Presbyterian Church in America. Rebecca divides her time between her family and writing, teaching and speaking. She is a board member of the San Diego Christian Writers’ Guild and a member of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

 

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