Our church is rather large. Like thousands of people large. So they offer a Saturday night service, and that's the one we attend. I always wear Cecily in my baby carrier. She usually sleeps with her little face against my chest, and I usually stand in the back, bouncing and rocking to keep her sleeping peacefully and quietly.
Tonight, while we sang after the message, I looked down at Cecily's sweet little face, and she was looking up at me with her big eyes wide open. She was watching me as I worshipped our God. She was listening as I sang. It struck me that she's already learning so much from me. She's already watching. Already listening. And already mimicking.
Tonight, as I sang, she was observing something very private and intimate from a very intimate position. She was as close to me as she can be (now that she's no longer living in my belly). She could observe my face and hear my voice. Even though the music was very loud, she would have been able to tell if I was just mouthing the words instead of singing, something no one else standing nearby would have noticed.
So when I looked down at her and saw her looking up at me, I realized that I was already teaching her how to praise God and what it looks like to love Him. This thought, and her big, beautiful eyes, made me smile. And it made tears spring to my eyes and my voice crack. So I closed my eyes and sang in a cracking voice to God, feeling so much gratitude for my daughter and the opportunity I've been given to teach her. And even though my voice was faltering, I knew it sounded beautiful to my God and to my little baby girl.
And then later in the evening (worship went on for an extra-long time tonight - it was cool), Cecily was sitting on my lap, facing me. She had just finished eating, Levi was out in the hallway, there were only about 40 people left in the room, and we were singing Amazing Grace. I was looking down at Cecily, smiling as I sang. And she joined in. With her loud, deep, little squawks and her high-pitched squeals. She sang with her mouth open in a wide smile and her sweet eyes sparkling. She was seriously very pleased with herself. She was so loud that everyone in the room could hear her even though the room is huge and we were in the very back and there was a full band playing music. I could feel lots of people looking back our way, but I just kept looking down at Cecily as I sang and smiled and laughed. It was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard.
Levi came back while she was still squawking away, and he laughed with me. He said he could hear her all the way on the other side of the room. After we all finished, several women came over and stood around my chair, saying hello to Cecily and talking about how cute she is. A woman a few rows up gave me a big smile and said something about her singing. Cecily's little offering was such a perfect way to end our praise and such a good example of how I want to praise my God - loudly and joyfully and not caring what I look or sound like.
That's how I want to teach my daughter to love her God.