That day. October 24, 2012.
Avery would have answered her phone. Jadrian, probably not. Jadrian was driving. Avery was a passenger in the back seat. Avery always answered her phone. In fact, on the days that her older sister drove her to and from gymnastics, Avery would spend much of the ride texting me.
What are we going to eat for dinner?
Can't we just get McDonald's?
I got my back hip circle with a spot!
Except not on October 24th. On that day, when I tried frantically to get a hold of someone - anyone - who could tell me where my babies were, Avery's phone was sitting on the chair in my bedroom.
For a long time I was angry. Why didn't she have her phone with her? I could have talked to her one more time! I always texted back that I loved her! Why did she leave it at home?! I could have heard her voice one more time....
I felt, I don't know, cheated, somehow. I could have had one more moment with her... but her phone was still at home.
And now I know why God ensured the phone was not with Avery on that beautiful, awful night:
That morning, Avery got dressed like she did every morning. Except this morning she looked more beautiful then she ever had. She wore her sister's black and white striped sweater with dark jeans. She asked if she could wear her sister's earrings. I told her she could. And she asked me if I would do her hair.
We were running late. We should have left. I should have shoo'd her off to the car. And yet... she was just so beautiful in that moment. So, I put my purse down on the counter and walked into the bathroom to brush my baby's hair. I remember brushing it and thinking how gorgeous the color was when you looked closely. People spent so much money on all the different colors for their hair and here she was, blessed with golds and browns.
I was standing behind her, both of us facing the large bathroom mirror... and my heart just swelled. Such a beautiful girl who didn't even care about looks. She placed no value on the outside of a person. She only saw their hearts.
We smiled at each other, happy with the hair pinned up, and the earrings in... and we walked out to the car.
She turned the volume up... Jamie Grace's "God Girl" rang through the car... and we SANG!
We sang loud and proud and just as we pulled into the school the song ended.
I switched off the radio and turned to watch Avery as she hopped out of the car and swung her backpack over her shoulder. As she picked up her gymnastics bag she looked at me and smiled: "You know, Mom, I really am a God Girl."
I smiled as I watched her walk confidently into school. Man, that girl has my heart! So graceful. So beautiful. So full of God's love. So much more than I ever was or am.
That was the last time I saw my daughter. The last words I heard my precious daughter speak to me: "You know, Mom, I really am a God Girl."
Right there: Do you see that? God gave me that gift. If she had her phone with her there is a very real possibility that her last words to me would have been I'm hungry or What's for dinner? or something equally inconsequential. And yet, here they are - "... I really am a God Girl..." a declaration of who she was to the core of her soul. A reminder to me of where her heart was. Preparing my heart for her return to God's loving arms.
How blessed am I?