When I gave birth to my children, I immediately felt a “change of heart” and gained a “testimony” of unconditional love. As a single mom (though it probably wouldn’t have been much different in a family with both parents), this unconditional love was tried over and over. My kids had spent nights thinking of ways to make me question this testimony, but I held on tight working to keep this love glowing. It was a struggle every day. I exercised “every particle of faith,” while they “experimented upon” and “tried my faith.” Then one day I was a grandma. Now I was truly converted to this thing called unconditional love. I now had no more desire to run away to a faraway country. I have no more desire to get even. I have patience, and love abounding for these children, who try their workings on their parents every bit as much as my own children did on me.
Just yesterday, the GAP had come over to spend the day with me. Two little hooligans rushed over to me with big bear hugs. The third, the youngest, marched into my heart, his knees pulled high with each step. “Hup, two, lee, four,” he said over and over. The Bug and the Mouse had selected a cookie to bake, “I want to help,” said the almost three-year-old Mouse. I helped him fill a cup of flour. We poured it into the mixing bowl. “I do it myself,” he demanded. Before I could stop him, there was another cup in the mixing bowl. I guess I could double the recipe.
The Worm knocked the egg against the edge of the bowl. She was getting pretty good at cracking eggs. The Bug stopped by occasionally to pitch in, mostly to lick beaters. Like most men, he was more into sampling than cooking. Soon there was the smell of snickerdoodles and sugar cookies in the oven.
“Uncle Brandon sent me this new game,” I told the Bug, holding up the box for Long Shot. “Why don’t you set it up and read the directions so you can tell us how to play.”
“I’d love to do that,” he said.
While the cookies were baking, the GAP and I prepared a dinner of favorite comfort foods – grilled cheese sandwiches made from Challah bread and English cheddar and smoked Provolone (yummy) and soup, and strawberry lemonade.
From the kitchen, I heard the Worm say, “You’re not surprising me one bit!” There was a tad of irritation in her voice. I walked into the dining room where the Bug was setting up ten little tiny horses on a racetrack. The Worm was directing this stern message to the Mouse.
Just as I walked in, he raised his little arms in the air and answered back, “Surprise!” It
sounded more like “Supplies.” I thought we were going to have to pick the GAP, who was now in hysterics, up off the floor.
The Mouse was partnered with me for the game – the goal being to buy, bet on and move horses around the track. He wanted to buy #1. Soon his horse was winning. Then all of a sudden, #1 was no longer moving at all. “You horse isn’t moving,” said Couponman to the Mouse.
“Yaya,” he asked, tapping me on the shoulder, “is my horse dead?”
Definitely the horse was moving slower than three children high on sugar. “Sit down,” said the GAP to the Worm. “Pay attention to your turn,” the GAP told the Bug.
“You don’t have one ounce of patience for me,” said the Bug. Wait until you have children, I wanted to tell him, your mom will be fine.
It was a long shot that my horse would win, but the Mouse and I did. It was even a longer shot that three little hyper bodies would not drive me crazy, but they did not.