Friday, February 24, 2012

Are We There Yet?

by Glynis M. Belec

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3

     When Ruthie, Eddie and Jannie came to visit one week, I was reminded about what it meant to be a mommy to junior munchkins all over again.

The week was…uh…well…full. Yes. That’s it – full. Full of creativity cleverly disguised as messes. Full of cooperative play opportunities often interpreted as arguments. Full of educational moments initiated by questions upon questions upon more questions.

     When my visiting trio walked into a room they exploded. Books, toys, craft supplies, dress-up clothes I’d forgotten even existed, were scattered about the house. Messes I could overlook. A sore back from bending to pick up after everyone could easily be soothed by a good night’s sleep. Who knew how many kilocalories I burned dancing around the kitchen with five-year-old Ruthie to the ever hip sounds of “Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo; How about You, You, You?”

     Activity and creativity I could handle. It was the not-so-cooperative play part that sent me into colorful stages of bridling the tongue. Whining made me crazy. Bickering caused headaches. Telling tales grieved me somewhere in my teeth. That week I experienced a taste of all three. But I knew my junior relatives were going home soon. So I decided to grin and put up with it.

     The voluminous questions were the best. “Are we there yet?” was Eddie’s favorite. Every 60 seconds I had to give a run down on lap time, RPMs, distance, speed and ETA every time we went anywhere.

     One afternoon we went swimming. I think the best question that day came from Ruthie’s lips. “Aunt Glynis. Why do you gots two towels?”
“Because I have a lot to cover,” I said with lilting laughter.
“Oh,” came the sweet little beep in response. Ruthie didn’t get the joke. She believed me. I could tell by the look in her eye. Now she would tell everyone I was fat and needed two towels to wrap around me. She didn’t hear me say I was kidding. I should have known better.

     Then there was Jannie. Jannie was nine going on sixteen. She was a vegetarian, so she informed me. I thought vegetarians had to be at least 25 years old. Each evening she’d check out what was for supper and announce her hatred for the poor dead animal sizzling on the stove. “Eggs are okay as long as they are not fertilized,” she told me. I hesitated to tell her about Belshazaar, the macho rooster who dwelt amidst my contented egg-laying cluckers, lest she suspected. I pretended not to notice when I spotted her picking a bit of pork chop from her brother’s plate when no one was looking, though. I’ll wait ‘till she’s 25.

     Night times were the best. I had no complaints then. Was it the anticipation of lights out and tender, young bodies resting peacefully between the sheets?  Nah…it was the stories. I loved the stories. I loved to tell the stories. I loved to act the stories. Bedtime was fun.

“Stand back…I’m going to sneeze,” said the elephant. “Look out for the falling cloud!”

     Ruthie, Eddie, Jannie and I dove for cover under the bed. I was a kid again. I loved it.

     I sure do miss those kid-like moments. Big kids don’t ask for bedtime stories. Adulthood requires adult conduct – which doesn’t often involve high drama and various sound effects. Childhood is just too much fun.

     When I contemplate the scripture where Jesus talked about becoming like a little child, I get excited. I have a lot of grown-up hang-ups. But I also have a lot of child-like (much to the chagrin of many) urges. How hard can it be to become a child again?

     My adult mind tells me the criteria for entering the Kingdom of Heaven involves a little more than whooping it up when the elephant sneezes, though. I’m thinking this is more about the flawless faith of a child and his ability to wholly trust. Can I do it?

     I think it’s time to evaluate how childlike I really am.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Thanks Glynis. The playful resume of your stint with your young charges is a tonic for an old stiff upper lipper like this guy!:)
Seeking to attain, nurture and retain the "flawless faith of a child and his ability to wholly trust" is surely a challenge that we adult children of God's kingdom must face at many points along life's pathway.

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