Yesterday I took Tuti (above with the band aides) and Sandra (the other one!) to get their immunization shots for school. Not having money and health insurance is brutal. We went to the public clinic that serves low income families, and although we were there an hour before the doors opened at 1:30 and were fifth in line, we were not seen until after 3pm. For kids who are dreading shots, this is torturous, it's like waiting for your dad to get home to spank you. Awful.
Anyways, an entire picture book colored, three hours, 4 shots, and many tears later we made our way to McDonald's to get ice cream because they did so good!!! Two observations here. OH MY GOSH MOTHER'S ARE BRILLIANT. To be able to guide a kid through getting shots is hard. To keep them entertained, fed, and clean for three hours is hard. I mean, these little things have to pee like every thirty minutes. And then every ten minutes or so there were tears about being hit by another kid, or terrified of getting a shot, or just tears because they were tired of waiting. I have a new respect for moms.
Next observation. Ice cream as a reward means nothing in light of Nurse Wanda with no bedside manners and two giant needles. Nothing.
Anyways, on the way home Sandra, the youngest said, "Mom says if you rape someone you go below the ground, but if you're good you go up into the clouds."
Heaven and hell. That's a start.
"Yea," I said, "Heaven and Hell. But even if you are not always good you can still go to heaven. We all mess up but we can still go to heaven."
"I am going to be good so I can go to heaven."
I wasn't sure how much a three year old would understand and I didn't want to introduce these kids to God without maybe talking to their mom first, so I kept it vague an avoided saying "God" until I knew it was the right moment.
All of a sudden 4-year-old Tuti who was in the back seat listening to all this just starts giggling. Tuti is our wise, nonsensical child. She takes care of her sister like a protective animal. She doesn't play with the other kids but wants to stay by my side and just talk about things that I didn't know a 4 year old talked about. So she starts giggling out of no where, the most happy, silly, innocent, beautiful giggle. I thought maybe her sister was tickling her. But when I looked back she wasn't. And she just kept dying laughing. A laugh full of limitless delight.
"Tuti, what are you laughing at silly girl?"
"God. He is so funny. He is above the car right now following us home and he is being so silly today."
She kept laughing.
And I almost veered off the road.
"GOD??? He is following us? You see him right now???"
"Yes, and today he is being silly, he makes me laugh."
"Do you see God a lot?"
"Yes. Every night I see him almost. And the angels. They come to me in my dreams and sometimes in the house or outside."
"What do they say to you?"
"They always tell me that they love me. That I need to be strong and be a good sister. They sing to me and sometimes they play with my hair to help me fall asleep."
She kept laughing. A bird could have flown into my gaping mouth.
My eyes were bulging out and I could not get my face out the window fast enough to see if I could see him too. Like looking for Santa's reindeer. I didn't see anything.
These kids aren't in church. They don't know "God" language. And Tuti is not an overly imaginative child, she is sensitive, kind, and tender. And yet...yesterday, in the back of my car, she saw God. And he was being silly.
Believe what you want. But I think God knows this little girl well. She certainly seems to know Him. By face.