On the way to take my son to school, my four-year-old pipes from the rear that she isn’t lonely and that she’s planning a party with her two best friends. “That’s lovely,” I tell her, wondering who those friends might be since we live so far away from everyone she plays with. Living in the mountains is a lot less polluted, but I suppose there are some social drawbacks.
As if reading my mind, she says, “The sun and the moon. Everyone can see them, but it’s me they choose to follow. They’re my friends.” In the rearview mirror, I can see how content this has made her feel and I tell her it’s awesome they stay with her all the time. I’m trying to keep my mind focused on important things; the fact I have two dollars and change in my wallet and we need a gallon of milk. In addition to that, I also have a stack of papers which need to be faxed today, without question. What can I do?
Meanwhile, my daughter is still babbling. She’s saying that since her brother will be gone this evening, we should have a “girl party.” We can watch movies, comb each other’s hair and invite her friends. She then catches herself and reminds me that the sun can’t come tonight because he’s checking on the children of China.
I listen with my heart–what can I do? My daughter needs milk. I make a U-turn and head to the store, glancing momentarily at the papers in a stack on the seat beside me. If they’re not turned in today, my son’s chance to be accepted will be dashed! But I know what I must do.
When I get home, I find a notice of termination on my frontdoor as I pull into the garage. I snatch the notice and make a call, when I get an idea. A flashbulb goes off and I pick up the phone again to call the school the documents were to be faxed to. I ask her if they have an email address, and am relieved when they do. I breathe a sigh of relief!
I go to the cupboard and open it to expose a loaf of bread donated by a shelter. Too stale to make sandwiches, perhaps I can pass it off for toasted bread and my daughter won’t know the difference.
As time progresses, it nears five o’clock, when my son will have temporary relief from the life I try so desperately to protect him from. The doorbell rings and he runs for his coat and shoes throwing the door open to an unexpected milkman. “Oh,” I think, “I certainly don’t need this now!” But I smile and talk to them awhile. I contain myself fairly well as one hands me a bottle of chocolate milk and asks if my son wants it. I tell them I appreciate the gesture, but he doesn’t like chocolate. “Oh,” he says, “I’ll get him an orange juice then–it’s fresh squeezed!” And he’s gone, leaving his friend to discuss the program.
My son gets excited and calls his sister, who happens to love chocolate milk. Both kids are happy. Then the men ask what type of bread I enjoy. I throw them a deliberate curveball by saying 10-grain bread. Without a word, he disappears and comes back with the best looking loaf of bread I think I’ve ever seen in a wrapper. I didn’t order anything, and I suppose I would have felt guilty, but I never asked for anything either.
I suppose what I’m really trying to say is that living where we live, far away from everyone, my daughter isn’t mistaken at all. Perhaps I’m the one who is mistaken–as long as we play with the sun and the moon, keeping God in our minds, everything will be just fine. It will all be fine.