I stopped pounding on my hefty typewriter when I heard the screen door rattle and a child’s voice. “Can Terry play?”
As Robert Jack, the neighbor boy, asked mom first for my brother, then each of my siblings by name, she explained we were unavailable. It didn’t matter to him that we were in high school, and our youngest sister far beyond being interested in playing outside with a five-year-old.
Robert wasn’t shy, and we were familiar with his routine. First he’d charm us with his grin full of missing teeth, then he’d sit and wait on our back steps, singing a song he’d learned in Sunday School, until someone in my house became available to play. Sometimes he’d ask my mother, “Can you come out and play?”
Age doesn’t matter
Earlier this month I felt conspiratorial when I, with stripes of gray in my hair, stood at the counter at Splash! at Lively Park Swim Center asking for a 10-ticket entry packet for birthday party guests. Who would have thought I wasn’t planning a party for a child?
It was a party for me, a grandma about to turn 60, and I wanted to play. Although he’d be in his 40s now, Robert would have certainly been welcome to join us!
I spread the red tablecloth and covered it with snacks and the birthday cake my mother brought. Sitting and chatting with her on the sidelines, we relished watching people we love enjoying themselves in the water.
Most likely, even as I bounced on my inner tube against the waves with grandchildren in tow, it looked like a child’s party. And when I later pulled out my phone to take photos of my niece and her baby in the kiddie pool, it wasn’t apparent I was the birthday girl.
And it was a blast!
“Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” (Psalm 126:2-3 NIV).
It may have been unconventional to plan my own birthday party, but I like the idea of giving gifts on my birthday. I’m thankful for the years, the people, the blessings I’ve been given. After the party, my heart was full, and I sang a happy song like Robert’s as I drove home.
Hasn’t God done great things for us?
by Kathy Sheldon Davis