While Cari was in the States, the 'caring' of her two precious children fell to her marvelous husband...and me. Tuesdays and Thursdays were Michael's full days--leaving home at 6:30 a.m. and returning at 11 p.m. On those days my hands were quite busy (as you can imagine!), but the kids were angels, they got along together most of the time, didn't balk at naptime or bedtime and played happily during the day. My only explanation for this was "God's Grace"--it had fallen on them in full measure, making our days easier. (Can you imagine what we'd have done if they'd cried for their Mommy day and night?) Well, they did cry for Mommy when they got hurt or during time-outs, but that is certainly to be expected. I bragged about their good behavior to all who would listen.
Saturday dawned and Mommy came home. The kids were beside themselves with joy.
Sunday dawned and Daddy and Mommy went out for dinner for their 6th wedding anniversary while Grandma took the children to church and afterwards put them to bed. But Gabriella balked, "Mommy said she was putting me to bed." Tears flowed in abundance and there seemed to be no way to stop the fountain. I gave my explanations. She countered with hers. I insisted. She insisted. We had reached an impasse so I decided to repeat the familiar blessing from Numbers 6: 24-26 that we had prayed over our children when they were young, hoping it would work its magic: "The Lord bless you and keep you...." Somewhere, in the middle of "the Lord make his face shine upon you", an angry head popped up and an angry voice said, "Jesus told me you're going to jail."
The blessing froze mid-sentence and I arose quietly and left the room.
Caleb, the compassionate, tucked in his bed across the hall, heard the angry outburst and the word, "jail". "Tama, tama," he called out to me, "Bella said jail." His words were hard to understand, but it was obvious he was worried. I reassured him everything was okay and proceeded to the living room. I had no sooner sat down when I heard an angry little voice and started toward Bella's room. There she was, standing in the doorway to her bedroom, arms crossed in front of her looking like Custer's Last Stand. "I'm telling the truth, " she bristled self-righteously. After a few more 'words' I ordered her to her bed.
When Michael and Cari returned and were listening to the evening's adventures, Michael looked at me and said, "Looks like the grace is gone, Mom. Cari's home."
The next morning I was standing by the kitchen corner shelves when Gabriella came up the stairs for her breakfast. She immediately came to me and very sweetly said, "I'm sorry, Grandma," and it felt good to say back, "I forgive you," while squeezing her tight. She was all sugar and spice and all that's nice--just what little girls are made of.