Listening to See

by | Dec 18, 2013 | Uncategorized


As I raced past the living room into the kitchen with an armful of trash, I overheard H urging Murielle, “Show Mom the clothes we bought for you.”

“I will, in a minute,” she responded, swallowing the last bite of a snack.

After scouring store racks, they’d returned home from shopping all day for her Christmas dress while I stayed behind in my pajamas, curling ribbon around presents wrapped shiny and red. The bed was strewn with a battlefield of scissors, tape, and hints to the contents inside each box. I was in the middle of cleaning it up when she came in to the room revealing the bounty.

I don’t remember the first year it happened but I can recall each dress. It’s a tradition for H to take Murielle shopping for her Christmas outfit. Something he watched his Dad do with his sister while growing up.

He almost forgot about it this year in a swirl of circumstance until I reminded him about in the car on the way home from seeing the Hobbit.

She hadn’t forgotten. That’s what she told us from the backseat of the car when I mentioned it. Her heart was already anticipating the outing.

While hunkering over the bed gathering fragments of wrapping frenzy, my girl stood beside me holding a stack of folded clothes on top of a shoe box like a ring bearer at a wedding. Unfolding each article carefully, she hung an  emerald green skirt from two fingers on each hand like clothes pins on her waistline while rocking in a half circle, showing it off.

When she opened the cardboard box and pulled out the suede wedge booty, I laughed and said, “You obviously found an outfit to go with those shoes.”

We’re suckers for a shoe that looks like an art piece. Turns out that wasn’t the case, the shoes were an addendum to the outfit. She’s worn them around the house every day since.

As I flipped through an old scrapbook later that night, a second grade photo from a school Christmas program caught my eye and stuck there for more than a minute.  She was wearing one of the dresses from their father-daughter tradition, sleeveless pink satin to the tops of her clunky black patents; a white shawl cascading over bare shoulders.

That snapshot pried the lid off a collection of memories; each year and all of those beautiful dresses — blue velvet, red satin, and the first pair of shoes from the women’s department. All this time, I thought I was waiting for her to grow up and the woman I hoped she would become is standing right in front of me.

The same way God stands at the door and knocks. (Rev. 3:20) When we’re paying attention, we’ll recognize the sound of his rap, open the door and welcome him into all the rooms of our house. We’ll sit down, eat together and he’ll finish our sentences. Like a date with your Father you anticipate but don’t expect.

Looking back, you’ll realize the journey is glorious and unbelievable all at the same time.

Linking with Tuesdays Unwrapped, Tell His Story and Imperfect Prose.






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  1. Kris Camealy

    glorious and unbelievable–yes. I needed to be reminded. Your words are always so timely and lovely–you open my eyes to see HIM, and my heart to receive. XO

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanking God with you for timely words Kris.

  2. DeanneMoore

    …and the end of one journey becomes the beginning of a new one…love this tradition with H and Murielle—really, really special…a true gift…the only advice that I remember getting from my father when I was Murielle’s age was this: the most important discipline to cultivate in life is the ability to listen…

    • Shelly Miller

      Yes, with every ending brings the hope of a new beginning. I’m hanging on to that. And your Dad has some good advice Dea. 😉 I think I’ll take it.

  3. Karrilee Aggett

    It’s so shocking how they actually are growing up right before our eyes- and it seems we notice it most when we are reminiscing! I love that we both touched on Tradition today!

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    What a beautiful tradition, Shelly. H has done something very special, indeed, for your darling Murielle, something that is about far more than buying her a pretty dress, but investing in her lovely heart. It gives me a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia….of beautiful times gone by, when I witnessed each Valentine’s Day, as Michael (who doesn’t dance!) took our beautiful daughter, Sheridan, to the Cupid’s Ball at the Ritz in St. Louis. Each year, she wore some gorgeous red or crimson concoction of frothy chiffon, silky satin, or plush velvetine (which, by the way, her *mother* purchased!), and her dad would don his tuxedo, embellished with a red-satin bow-tie and matching cummerbund. They were quite the pair and made a dashing display on the dance floor. (Actually, Michael told me that he just basically stood there while Sheridan swirled around him. With detached dancing these days, he was able to get by with it)! Your post is also bittersweet for me, because my father never bought me a beautiful dress or took me to a Cupid’s ball. He worked two full-time jobs for thirteen years (after working full-time while attending college), and so during much of my growing-up years, he was not involved in my life in the way that I would have longed. I knew that he loved me, and yes, he was a wonderful provider and very supportive in other ways, but how I would have loved such a tradition as what H has given Murielle–a chance to spend time with him. Surely, Muriellse shall not soon forget what her father has done for her. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Shelly Miller

      It’s bittersweet for me too Lynn. I didn’t have a Dad present in my life that way either. The way H is with Murielle is so redemptive for me. I’m thankful she has him.

  5. Lori Harris

    simply beautiful. it’s amazing the things we really see when we’re willing to open our eyes. always blessed when I pause in the crazy of my day to stop by here. thank you~

    • Shelly Miller

      Your comment is a gift Lori. Thank you.

  6. Paula

    Loved this post…..have always loved the idea that H does that with her. I can see the smile on your face and in your heart.

    • Shelly Miller

      It’s amazing how much of what we take for granted is inspiration for someone else isn’t it?

  7. Theresa @ Heavenly Glimpses

    Shelly, what a neat tradition. A tradition that the years hold so dear is truly sacred. Thank you for capturing this so beautifully.

    • Shelly Miller

      Theresa its so great seeing you here, thank you for leaving a comment.

  8. Lisa notes

    What a beautiful tradition to have established. I love it. It’s not anything we do in my family (most of us hate shopping). ha. But that’s the beauty of traditions–we individualize them to our own unique families.

    • Shelly Miller

      I don’t love shopping anymore Lisa, its exhausting but yes, I love the way people express traditions differently.

  9. Rebecca Rene Jones

    Beautiful. I love that she had not forgotten, not for a moment! It’s really amazing how the small things in our dayplanners can leave big marks in kid’s hearts and minds. What a gift he is giving her…

    • Shelly Miller

      I thought the same thing about her not forgetting but also not saying anything about it. She is wise and generous like that, I love that about her.

  10. Tresta Payne

    “He’ll finish our sentences”. That’s the lovelies thought I’ve had all day. Thanks for sharing this beauty, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      Aw, hope your day turned out okay Tresta. Thanks for your encouragement.

  11. Lisha Epperson

    This is lovely. I wrote this week about my girl and am encouraged by the beauty of the special relationship your daughter shares with her dad. Thank you for offering a reminder of just how fast the time goes by.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’ve loved all the photos you share of her skating Lisa, they are awesome.

  12. Nancy Ruegg

    Perhaps you’ve discovered the reason God gave us long-term memories: so we can look back and see the glorious, unbelievable, personal journey that each of our lives have been–journeys he designed individually, to showcase his love, grace, and power. Precious memories are truly the gift that keeps on giving!

    • Shelly Miller

      I think you are right Nancy. It’s an exercise we do in coach training, looking back with a timeline to see how God has been with you all along the journey. It’s an awesome experience when you see a theme emerge for your life calling.

  13. rachel lee

    this is marvelous! I love this so much, Shelly. being mom to a daughter is one of those things that I’m so, so new at, but looking forward to seeing what’s coming next.

    • Shelly Miller

      It’s a beautiful journey with lots of tears and laughter Rachel Lee, worth every minute of what it teaches you.

  14. dukeslee

    “All this time, I thought I was waiting for her to grow up and the woman I hoped she would become is standing right in front of me.”

    Oh friend. Those words. My daughters seem a long way off. But not really, I guess. Not really at all.

    BEAUTIFUL piece of writing here. And? I love how your husband has made this shopping trip a tradition.

    • Shelly Miller

      You are already present with them in such profound ways Jennifer, you’ve got this down before they hit those adult years of womanhood. No worries.

  15. Louise Hughes

    What a great father/daughter tradition. H is a wonderful father. Those kinds of shared occasions really do fill their love tanks and make all of the difference in their emotional health.

    • Shelly Miller

      So true Louise. I didn’t have them with my own Father but I do have fond memories with my Grandpa, what a saint he was.

  16. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    This tradition is so beautiful, Shelly. And the way you tell this story — oh, friend. As a mama of three girls, thank you.

    • Shelly Miller

      Ashley, you humble me friend. Thank you.

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