She wasn't there this time. She wasn't among those precious little ones dressed in leotards and ballet shoes. She wasn't there to dance and perhaps it was easier this way.
A year ago I sat with a boy in church and watched his daughter dance. It was the start of a new relationship and it was one of the first times I had been around his children. I was honored to be there. I was delighted to see her dance. And I was deeply touched by the opportunity (at last!) to sit beside a boy in a pew. It was no small thing. But it was not meant to be a lengthy thing.
This weekend, she was not there to dance. At her mother's for most of the week, she missed out on our church's dance camp. He was not there either. It's his 41st birthday and he was off to celebrate with his new girlfriend - as it should be. It's all good.
But I couldn't help but think this morning, sitting in a pew alone, of my thoughts from a year ago. My hope. My joy. The thrill of having a little boy wrap himself up in me, a little girl who waved from the stage when she saw her dad. Of a man, who put his arm around me and prayed with me at his side.
He wasn't meant to be mine, nor I his. We disagree - a lot. We are better apart than ever could be together. And I think we've both reached a point of understanding and accepting that.
But I still hope that I will get such an opportunity again. A chance to love little ones as if they were my own. A chance for the joy that comes from praying together.
I wish TB a very happy birthday today. I pray that The Rentals are safe and loved and cherished. And I pray that his new relationship might be a real blessing from above - full of joy and laughter.