BY DAN MILLER
(originally posted October 17, 2005)
On Sunday, my six-year old sang in "the big church", as she calls it, for the whole congregation to hear.
She wasn't alone.
There were dozens of kids in the youth choir, and it was McKensie's first time to be part of it.
For days beforehand, spontaneous rehearsals would erupt at any time -- while riding in the car, or just sitting in the kitchen.
If she was nervous, it never really showed.
Sunday, as the choir director led the singing, McKensie made eye contact with Karen and me several times.
I'm fairly certain she sang at full volume, though we couldn't actually isolate her voice from all the rest.
Together though, those young voices sounded like caroling angels.
It was Children's Sabbath -- a day when the kids pretty much conduct the whole church service, leading prayers, and even passing the collection plate.
As I watched McKensie, I thought to myself -- as I often do -- how I wish my Mother and Father had lived to see their unexpected, later-in-my-life granddaughter.
From my vantage point on the third row, I thought how -- at certain angles, with certain little expressions -- McKensie slightly resembles my Mother, whose middle name (Giles) we borrowed as McKensie's middle name.
About midway through the service, I glanced down at the little church bulletin and noticed the date, October 16, 2005.
A date that rang so familiar.....
And it struck me....
It was my Mother's birthday.
She's been gone for 16 years.... and when there are no longer cards and gifts to send, or telephone calls to make.... even something as meaningful as her birthday can suddenly show up unannounced.
Mama (her name was Frances, but "Mama" is all I ever called her) would have turned 91 on Sunday, and -- if she could have been there -- would have so enjoyed hearing those kids sing like angels.
But, you never know.... maybe some real Angels were there on Sunday....
And maybe one of them celebrated the day by hearing her granddaughter sing in "the big church", in front of the whole congregation.