Friday, June 30, 2006

The Saddest Story I Ever Heard

My daughter-in-law had a mini-meltdown the other day. We’ve all had them. Most seem to occur when we’re in the stage of life with toddlers underfoot.

The mama called and said, “Today, three children seems to be one too many. Pick one. Can you take one off my hands for a few hours?”

Since I had business errands that had to be done that day, I opted to not choose the precious one-month-old boy needing frequent feedings and diaper changes. I didn’t select the 17-month-old grandson because I knew he still takes two good naps a day, bless his heart. I removed from the scene the precocious five-year-old girl with a delightful but non-stop mouth and curiosity about everything on the planet. She’d be a good companion for my errands, lots of fun, and would give the mama the promise of at least two short rest periods during the day. Besides, little Grace and I love what she calls “Girl Days.”

Gracie and I started chatting from the moment I picked her up. I love the way that girl’s mind thinks. She happily accompanied me on the errands in a town about 25 miles away. From her safety seat in the back, she noted that it was important I keep both hands on the wheel at all times. She commented on every building we passed, remembering with scary accuracy if and when she’d ever been there before.

“Hey, that’s where Ben threw up on the waitress.”

“I remember that place. Daddy said we should stop and get gas and Mommy said no not that place the bathrooms are creepy and Daddy said okay and the next gas station was closed and so I wet my pants. That’s when I was just a little girl.”

“There’s where we got ice cream cones with M & M’s sprinkled on them but now they don’t have that anymore.”

She’s not so much my charge as she is my memory. I need someone along who can tell me where I parked my car at Wal-Mart.

After the errands subsided, we picked up lunch at a drive-thru and headed for one of my favorite parks in that town. It has a beautiful beach area on a lovely little pine-hemmed lake. Grace had never been there before. I took great joy in being able to surprise her.

I’d tucked beach towels and swim wear into my tote bag. She danced and bounced with gratitude for our impromptu picnic and swim time. What a glorious day!

As we were driving home, Grace asked a sobering question. “Grammie, did you and your grandmas have Girl Days when you were little?”

I told her that no, we really didn’t. They both lived too far away, for one thing. For another, even though I knew they both loved me, they weren’t really “into” Girl Days.

She thought for a moment and then whispered, “That’s the saddest story I ever heard.”

So, of course, I immediately started planning our next outing.

And that's God for you. That's the kind of joy He gets out of spending alone-time with us. It's a huge concept. But a five-year-old can understand it. One-on-one...nothing better. He craves it like a child craves Girl Days. Exploring, adventuring, remembering, just enjoying one another's presence.

How many times have I told Him, "Not today, Lord. Too many errands to run."

I can hear Him ask, "Could I go with you? Maybe we'll find a place to stop and have lunch together, watch the waves lick the shore, sit in the too-hot sun and praise the sweet breeze that makes it tolerable. Can I go along? Just the two of us?"

Am I going to turn down a request like that?


Julie Dearyan said...

loved your post, Cynthia. And the application is so true.

Chaos-Jamie said...

Oh, heavens. I need to schedule a girl day with my daughter (who would,incidentally, get along fabulously with Gracie).

Audra Silva said...

Great post for me as a mom and as a daughter of the King. :)

Kristy Dykes said...

Beautiful story, Cynthia. Made me long to see my four grands. Two live four hours away, and two live in San Juan, Puerto Rico--three hours away, but by plane! We all spent a week together recently, but I'm needing another grandbaby fix.

Thanks for sharing.

Katy said...

Great post, Cynthia! This is my first visit here. I'll be back! Katy Raymond

Jennifer Tiszai said...

She sounds just like my daughter, except my daughter calls it Girl Time. I think I used to have a memory like hers, but I don't know what happened to it.

Oh yeah. I had kids. :)

It cracks me up the things she remembers. And sometimes I really do need her to remember something!