I just watched a YouTube video posted by my friend Janet. It's of her daughter, Madelin, practicing her figure skating routine, on what looks like a shopping mall's ice rink.
She stepped onto that ice with confidence, spread her arms, and glided. She skated backwards, picking up momentum, then lifted up her leg, and jumped. She twisted. She twirled. And yes, she stumbled. She never fell down, but she did need to make adjustments. You could see the strain, and it was a reminder that despite the appearance of lightness and grace, she was working hard.
My heart swelled with pride, even though I have never met Madelin. I haven't seen Janet since 1999, maybe? Yet, I love her daughter because I know that she is Janet's world, just as I love all of my friends' children, because they are my friends' hearts.
I love my future niece, Kiri, who is still baking, and should stay in the oven until September. Of course I also adore her big brother, my nephew, William.
I love the little Chinese son or daughter, waiting to be adopted by my dear friends, Jamie and Eric. Come home soon, little one. Josh, Cara, Owen, and Joel are waiting for you.
I love the children my brother may or may not have. Auntie Nancy promises to be another adult who cares about you.
I love the children I have never met---Madelin, David, Jonathan, Mika, Caedmon, Alec, Sofia, Mason (to name just a few). I'm learning your stories from a distance.
I love my friend's children---Owen and Joel's friends, classmates, Sunday School buddies, and future spouses (Cara? Danielle? Adrie? Ella? Jordan? Emmy?).
Loving is a risk, like stepping onto a slick ice. But, oh, the grace and beauty that comes from that step!