Monthly Archives: May 2012

Six Years Old and Ready for High School

“You can help me if you want,” Tina invites me. She says she has to clean up her room, but she really wants to arrange her cupboard.

I so much enjoy the quiet as I sit on the bed, watching a busy little girl absorbed in her chosen task.

And I enjoy her singing! Tina sings little impromptu songs—“He’s always alive and watching over you”,  “God died for us but we don’t have to be sad because He’s always alive,” and “God loves you, God loves you so very much.”

She decides to pack a purple plastic case “for when I’m in high school.” Tina sharpens two pencils at both ends (for surely high school is even more demanding than kindergarten). She already has a nice pen, and I give her a company pen to go with it. She sharpens two fat crayons and packs a green marker, a yellow highlighter and a pencil sharpener. She wonders about packing a paintbrush or two, but I say high school students probably use different brushes for art class. Tina closes the case and puts it on the shelf, all ready for high school!

Before supper we read from her mom’s Bible. I choose the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, and explain that she and her mom were doing Jesus’ work when they visited shut-ins.

It’s a three-story night, and Tina chooses three of the days of Creation from her Bible story book.

During the stories, she struggles to stuff a pillow inside a unicorn costume. “She has a baby in her tummy,” Tina explains. Readers who have never shared a bed with a unicorn in labor and her midwife may be ill prepared to appreciate what goes on when the light is switched off.

Contractions are intense and close together, but, like most other births, this one is worth it. After her client’s trying labor and delivery, the proud midwife produces a little brown and white stuffed horse from under the covers with the happy announcement,  “She borned a baby!” The filly’s twin soon emerges—a little black foal.

Thank You, God, for a sweet evening with Tina.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me,  I was sick and you looked after me,  I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25: 35-40  (New International Version)


Beautiful Evening

Tommy runs out of the house to meet Richard, Maria and me. Even though he’s a big five-year-old, he lets me carry him into the house, set him on the dryer, and hug him. Lisa’s been sick and her doctor told her to avoid unnecessary contact with people.

I’ve missed Tommy, and he knows it.

We play and read in his bedroom till Mother’s Day supper is ready. Tommy plays the little chick in one of his favorite stories, Be Patient, Little Chick. He especially likes it when I’m the big angry rooster, ready to teach the young upstart a lesson. Then at his command I quickly become the mother hen, flapping my wings and clucking to scare the big guy away.

Later he reads me a funny alphabet book, full of rhythm and rhyme.

I read The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, and Tommy plays the little lamb who has to stay behind while the others go to the lush green valley. Banished to the stable, he pours out his sorrows to his bovine friend. She assures him that God has a special place for those who feel left out.

That night a kind couple comes to the stable, and the woman gives birth to a very special Baby. Tommy curls up on his bed, pretending to warm the little one till Joseph brings some rags to cover Him.

What do I have to be thankful for this Mother’s Day? For my husband, children and grandchildren, and the God Who blesses me so richly.

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, Who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”

I Timothy 6:17 (New International Version)


My crossword puzzle solving, Honors thesis proofreading, once world-traveling mother sounded slurred when I called her last week. She also thought I was my brother, Jamie.

Home Care checked her every two hours during the night, and Jamie came over in the morning. In consultation with my brother, the nurse in her building sent Mom to the hospital by ambulance.

No, she had not had a stroke. The immediate medical problems are now being addressed, and Mom’s left with age-related cognitive decline, which started to accelerate just a few months ago. Jamie’s wife has introduced the idea to Mom that since she’s doing “so well” in the hospital, she might be better living in a place where she gets more care. Meanwhile, we’ve put her name in for long-term care.

What does the future hold for my mother? Plenty of visits from us and compassionate caregivers wherever she is, I trust; a good home for her cats, I hope … and, even as memory fades and confusion crowds out her top-of-the-class intellect, I pray for a spirit that will someday soar back to its Maker.

Tommy and Tina may one day lose a precious great-grandma that remembers them, but I trust that her legacy of kindness, helpfulness and initiative will live on in them as it has in her grandchildren.

“Love never fails”

I Corinthians 13