Gypsy's Travels

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Let the Little Children Come Unto Me"

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertijibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!
Many a thing you know you'd like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?


Abs finally made it to overnight status.

"Grandma, can I spend the night and go to church with you in the morning?" The plaintive little voice resonated with longing. I could have told her no and she would have been absolutely crushed, but she would have accepted the decision, cried a little, and journeyed on. I would not have expected temper tantrums, recriminations, or begging. I did not, however, tell ABS "no."

Sunday morning dawned clear and cool as we dressed for church after finishing off plates of pancakes. Abs looked adorable in a maroon dress with little white collar. She put on her black boots and I put her hair in "pigtails." I finished dressing as Abs twirled and danced in front of a floor length mirror.
"Uh-oh! You can see my panties when I do that," she said, and disappeared into the other room. When she returned, she had on a pair of long, black stretch pants, sprinkled with silver glitter, under her dress. Abs tucked the pants into her boots and commented on how cute they were, "bagging, just like real stockings."
She wrapped herself in a red, fringed shawl, and announced that she was ready to go. I can count on Abs not to make a scene when I say no to an overnight, but I can equally count on her to wage war when I try to interfere with her sense of fashion.

"Let's go!" I said.

I have two main rules for Abs in church. The rules are born of experience. The first is to not talk unless you are asked a question, then only give one answer. The other is to keep your hands to yourself. I forgot to remind her of these before we went in to the sanctuary. She grabbed a packet as we went to our seats. The packet contained a book, a couple of pipe cleaners, 2-3 colored index cards, paper, a pencil, and a stencil. The packet is supposed to quietly entertain a young child until time for the Children's Moment at the altar followed by their departure for Children's Church.

Abs quickly began making cards from the paper and index cards in the packet. She knew there was not much time before she would have to put it all away. After each card was made, she reached out to hand it to someone who caught her fancy during the morning. Sometimes it was just a person sitting quietly to one side, another time it might be a child who has shown her a kindness. She managed to pass out four cards this morning, and I noticed each recipient had a broad smile after Abs' visit.

The children's lesson was on "The Good Samaritan" who helped someone in need when no one else would.
"What are some things that should NOT influence us when we see someone who needs help?" the leader asked.
The children toss out out suggestions.
"Whether they are clean."
"Whether they are different from us."
"What they are wearing!" shouted my little fashion plate whose pant legs had come out of the boots. There was tittering throughout the congregation.

The leader progressed to the prayer which the children were asked to repeat. There were several short sentences to the prayer and all the children dutifully repeated the phrases as requested, except one. One little voice spoke the first 2-3 words of the sentence, then sang, like a cantor, the rest of the phrase....all the way through the prayer. The first time the singing occurred, it was quietly noted. The second time, there was a rustle as some people turned to a neighbor to share a smile. As the singing continued, members of the congregation were obviously struggling to keep their mirth in check, until, after the final sentence and its vocal reprise, there was a burst of appreciative laughter. Abs, blissfully unaware of her effect on the whole congregation, skipped off to Children's Church leaving a roomful of smiles behind her.

Posted by Picasa


  1. I hope she keeps this approach to life forever.

  2. Abs told me it was the best time in her life! I think she is ready to book another sleepover with Grandma. Question is are you ready?

  3. I know Abs isn't the only one who was excited you said yes- ABW has been waiting for this day too :)

    I think I might recognize that shawl. Did she pack it and bring it from home?


  4. Yes, she brought it from home. It is one of her favorite items!

    I might be ready, ABW,. I haven't had time to think about it yet.


Thank you for visiting! Please feel free to share your stories and comments.