She was all of about three, I guess. Pink floral tights, pink T-shirt, blond hair secured on one side with an elastic threatening to escape. And, I’m sure, the reason the family was late for church. (So was I but that’s another story – age-related!)
Grandma (I “think” it was Grandma) had kept them a spot and in they filed into the pew in front of me. Mom, munchkin, teenage brother and dad, the perfect family. And she was good, very good but let’s face it; an hour is a long time to sit still when you are a “three something.” Mom, dad, brother, each took a turn in entertaining but that was it. Memories flooded in as mom dug out the final bribe to keep her quiet. A single packet of Oreos.
But tiny fingers couldn’t get it open and big fingers didn’t want to help at that point in the mass when you can hear a pin drop. I carry a simple, inexpensive necklace in my purse. (Another story there…) It’s a “silver” chain on which hangs a tiny charm of a green turtle studded with “diamonds.” The grandma in me kicked in. I dug out the necklace and handed it to her.
The Oreos and the necklace worked its magic. Munchkin was fed and entertained. But the best was yet to come. The mass ended, mom ensured I didn’t want the necklace back and indicated she should thank me. Munchkin and I studied each other for a few seconds, then, I opened my arms and she came right in for a bear hug.
A little child’s hug is the sweetest gift on earth. Another special treasure for my memory box to keep me warm when I can no longer do what I do.
The bonus? I gave mom my card and got another lovely hug.
Now, for the lesson. There’s always a lesson. In another lifetime, I would’ve been irritated with this scenario. All kinds of thoughts would’ve flooded my mind. “Why can’t they keep her quiet? They shouldn’t bring someone that small to church. They should’ve this and that and whatever…..” my self-righteous self would’ve muttered and grumbled.
Instead? The I that is me today? With every fiber in my being I could openly and honestly say to mom, meaning every word,
“It’s good that she’s here.”
Matthew 19:14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them. For the kingdom of Heaven belong to such as these.” NIV
“Let the children come to Me; Let the children come.
Never hinder them; never stop them.
Oh let the children come.”