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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Peals of laughter are bergeoning from my kitchen. I have no idea what just happened in there. Bob is howling and Anna is cackling. TJ, spinning in laughter circles and clapping her hands together in mid-air, announces, "We have the funniest family! We have the funniest family!" She sees me giving her a queer look and pauses for a moment. "Daddy is so funny and Amber is so funny and I am pretty funny, too. . .  and Momma, you're sorta funny," to which I respond, "hmph."

Monday, February 21, 2011

      TJ came sleepy-eyed into the kitchen, pulled herself up onto the stool, and stared at her 1/2 cup of juice and 'concentration' medicine sitting before her. Around the corner and into the kitchen came Bob. "Daddy!" she shouted."You're home!" She had forgotten that Bob had this President's Day off, but she still had to go to school. Darn those snow make-up days!
     Suddenly, her lethargy disappeared, replaced by excitement and enthusiasm. Daddy's here on a school day. Wanting to impress him with all her knowledge she began calling out words and spelling them. "Start . S...T...A...R...T. Start! Cat.  C...A...T. Cat!"  Another word or two and she switched to her new addition skills. "Two plus two is FOUR!" We applauded again. "Four plus four is EIGHT!"  More applause. But TJ had exhausted all her math knowledge. Thinking I would help her out, I asked 'what is three plus three'. She was stumped. Standing behind Bob I held up three fingers on my right hand and three on my left. She counted silently. "SIX!". She shouted, laughed with pride, and kicked her feet in excitement. I continued with one plus one. Stumped again, I held up one finger on my right hand and one finger on my left.  She knew she had this one. Her feet began flailing, arms waving, bursting with confidence she screamed, "ELEVEN!"
      In stunned silence, Bob and I - with my two pointer fingers frozen in the mid air - turned to look at her. She grew quiet wondering why there were no plaudits. The silence was broken by Bob's contagious uncontrollable laughter. In unison, and through our glee, we said, "It's two, you silly girl!" With that, TJ looked at my fingers, still hanging in the air, and burst forth in squeals of delight, giggling at her obvious mistake. "You"re right!" she said, "I am silly!"
     With that finally clarified, we got her ready for her day at school and sent her off  ready to face the challenges of one more day of kindergarten.

Monday, February 14, 2011

       "Momma! I don't want to go to Sunday School! I want to go with you!" Pregnant pause. Momma doesn't respond. "I HATE SUNDAY SCHOOL!"
       This has become our Sunday morning mantra. Of course I know TJ doesn't hate Sunday School. She is always bursting to tell us what new thing she learned about Jesus and to show off her art work. Her desire is to be with us, to sit next to us with our arms around her, or to sit on a lap and lay her head on a shoulder. It's comforting to her.
      With Bob out of town visiting his parents, it occurred to me that this may be a good opportunity for her to join me in church. This is the first Sunday for me to attend both Sunday School and church. Two and a half hours is a long time for a hyperactive six year old girl to be contained in a small room. Compromise. "TJ, you go to Sunday School, Anna and I will go to Sunday School, and afterward we will come and take you to church with us. Deal?" "DEAL!" she shouts.
     An hour later I rescued one excited little girl, took her by the hand, lead her through the maze of grown-ups to the Sanctuary entrance. I squatted in front of her, eye to eye and listed the rules: be quiet, no squirming, no gum or candy, don't dig in my purse, stay in your seat . . . and be quiet and no squirming. With TJ in tow, Anna and I made our way to our established seats in the balcony - 6th row up, center left, seats one, two and three.
     Worship started. The congregation stood. TJ watched in wonderment. It didn't take long before she was bored with it all and began pressing herself against me, wriggling herself into me, and wrapping her arms around my hips. When we sat, she quietly asked, "Momma, can I sit on your lap?" "No, honey, I am writing." She took an offering envelope and a small pencil and busied herself writing words and letters. Since the seat next to her was empty, she used it for a writing table. During the sermon I occasionally glanced at her to see her bent over the other seat, occupied with her writing. 'She is doing so well,' I thought.
     Half way through the sermon I felt a deliberate bump on my elbow. TJ thrust her hands in front of me, palms up, both hands thickly painted in chocolate. Stunned, I put my palm up to her to say 'I don't want to hear it' and my first thought was 'what must those people behind me be thinking!' As Anna quickly whisked TJ away to the restroom, I stared at the seat left vacant next to me . . . melted chocolate smeared between the two fabric chairs. The harder I tried to get it out, the deeper ingrained in became.
     After the service, I found Anna and TJ waiting for me in the lobby, TJ making herself small in the overstuffed chair. Again, I squatted in front of her, eye to eye. "I am not happy with you."
     "Why not?" she asked innocently.
     "Let's think about it for a minute. Why might I be a little upset with you?"
     "Because I had candy?"
     "And what did you do with your candy?"
     "Well," she was being very thoughtful, "the candy just fell out and got all over my hands."  I stared at her. "Well," she stalls and I continue to stare. "well . . . well . . . well OK then! I got candy in Sunday School and I opened it in church and squished it in my hands."
     "I think you need to wait for a year, until you are seven, before you try to come to church again."  With that she takes my hand, the three of us walk out of church and I wonder if we will have to have this conversation again next Sunday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Life piles on top of life and before I know it three months of days have been spent: moments uncaptured and days unchronicled. Time washes out the tiny events leaving behind the intricate form of life. Even with an undocumented past three months, of this I am sure: my life is more colorful, more defined, more complicated and much richer with Anna and TJ in it. God has chosen to bless me . . . again.