Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Silent Night

I picked the oldest daughter up from a girl’s activity; a bunch of 9-11 year olds, doing girly things like jumping rope and crawdad fishing. My youngest son was caterwauling his dismay at being strapped in the barcalounger we call a car seat. Upon entering the car and hearing his complaints, all 5 girls began singing “Silent Night” to soothe the troubled beast. He grew quiet. The song ended. He began crying again. So they started singing again. For the entire trip, 5 girls crooned love songs, Christmas songs, lullabies. When one song ended, a girl would spontaneously begin a new song, and they would all join in. And the whole time, they focused their eyes and music toward the baby, gentling their voices and smiling at him.

I, too, had tears in my eyes. To see Motherhood in embryo, to find quiet in girls who are often loud, obnoxious and selfish, to see the beginnings of Compassion and Understanding, to hear them respond with a primordial urge to calm a baby, these made me love them apart from a Mother loving a Child. It made me love them as a woman loves another woman, as equals. And I loved seeing the woman that my own oldest child may someday become.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rude Girl

So, you know that I spend my Sundays with the children at church, right? There’s one girl, not related to me, who never has a nice thing to say. In fact, she’s down-right rotten sometimes. For instance, last week we played a game with a bag of different items. Each item represented a job of the Holy Spirit, such as a blanket for “comforter”, soap for “purifier”, etc. As a child pulled out an item, we’d talk about what that represented. I called on Rude Girl because she just will not be denied (think Horshack). She pulled an apple out of the bag (“teacher”). And, in an obnoxiously loud voice, she said, “I chose the stupidest thing I could find.”

Smack.

Well, you also know that one of my touch-points is nose-picking. Especially when it gets wiped on things that I might touch, like a chair at church. Rude Girl, in the front row, was going to town on her nose. I quietly set the box of tissues on the chair next to Rude Girl, which was empty. It’s usually empty. I’m not the only victim of her caustic comments. Picking up the box, and interrupting a brilliant flow of teaching from me, she hollers, “What’s this for?!?”

I smiled.

And said, in my best “gee, I tried to be discreet” voice, “Well, those are in case anyone’s nose gets itchy. Then, she could use a tissue.”

Now, I hadn’t set the whole thing up to embarrass her. I’m not that clever. But the evil part of me grinned that her own rudeness came back at her with such force.

It’s pathetic to have a 9 year old as a nemesis.