Today the girls and I met my sister-in-law and nephew for lunch at a chain fast food restaurant, and after we ate, we let the kids wear themselves out in the play area.
Seriously, whoever invented play areas attached to restaurants must have had preschoolers in mind. Eat. Run. Sleep. That is how it should go at lunchtime everyday.
The three cousins didn’t have the place to themselves, though. There were two brothers in there playing as well, the oldest of which couldn’t have been older than 7. They were sweet kids, playing well together and with Madeline. One of the little boys noticed Clara’s stump, and immediately called his brother’s attention to it. I hadn’t been paying attention at the time, so I didn’t realize what the two boys were talking about.
“That girl’s hand is broken. Look!”
One of the brothers stepped out of the play area to get his mother to look at it. His face had confusion and genuine concern.
When his mother and grandmother came in, they of course realized what the little boys had been talking about. They handled the situation very well, explaining that God makes little children of all shapes and sizes and each is unique from the rest. It was a new lesson for those little boys; I could tell. They clearly hadn’t seen anyone with a different looking limb from the general population, or at least not one that they had noticed.
Things like this happen often. Little children are so truthful and blunt, and they are often not ashamed to say out loud some things that adults would normally keep to themselves. Kids ask me all the time about Clara’s little stump: they ask what happened to her hand, where it went, why she doesn’t have it.
Clara isn’t old enough to respond herself yet, but I know one thing for sure: I want to teach her to respond gently and with love. I realize that for each of these children that ask me, and for some of their parents, too, meeting Clara is a little bit of a learning experience. It’s putting a real face to things we may hear about or see pictures of on the internet. It’s seeing that a little girl can crawl, walk, climb, clap, drink from her cup, and do anything anyone else can do with just her little hand and her stump.
This little girl doesn’t know it yet, but God has plans for her that will blow my mind.