Monday, December 11, 2006

Sometimes Mom Makes Wings

Disaster hit during rehearsal for the children’s Christmas pageant at church. We couldn’t find the halos for our baby angels. After a frantic search and some debate over whether we needed them, considering that the angels would only be on stage for about 90 seconds, someone found them. One problem. There weren’t enough.

What to do? Let the littlest kids wear them? Make more, but a less fancy version? Or maybe we should just forget them? But what would we tell those starry-eyed 6-and-7-year-old girls who had been begging for their halos since they saw the wings and gowns.

“Nathan looked so cute in his last year.” I told Jane.

“And my daughter is dying for one.” Jane examined one of the garland-crowned hair bands.

We exchanged glances. Oh, how complicated could they be to make?

Unable to disappoint a chorus full of 3-7-year-olds, we organized a plan to get a dozen halos made in a day-and-a-half.

Just as we’d come down from the satisfaction of handing the children their much-anticipated heavenly accessories one of the moms approached Jane halfway through final practice.

“Where can I find a set of wings?” Colleen asked. “My daughter doesn’t have one.”

As it turned out, another little girl was also missing wings. You guessed it. Jane grabbed a pair to use as a prototype, Colleen dashed to Wal-Mart for supplies, and the three of us spent that afternoon constructing two sets of angel wings. Colleen’s daughter danced around us, giddy with excitement and seizing every opportunity to help.

“Thanks so much for taking the time to do this,” Colleen said as we cleaned up sprigs of white garland and bottles of glitter glue. “Obviously Laura would have lived if she didn’t get wings. But it did mean a lot to her to look like everyone else.”

We all agreed that there are certain times when it’s worth it to make our kids happy, knowing how much something as simple as everyone having pretty wings and halos means to a child, even if they only get to wear them for five minutes.

“Yeah,” Colleen said, “I guess sometimes we teach our kids lessons and sometimes we make wings.”

As a mom, there are times when I must stand back in agony and allow my kids to live through disappointment. Other times, I sacrifice spare time, sleep, a little extra cash, and even a bit of my sanity to fulfill their heart’s desire. Maybe the thing that Nathan or Christian wants seems unimportant or silly to me, but their eyes tell me that it means so much. As with the halos and wings, it’s possible for me to provide, so why not? And hey, sometimes I even learn a new skill in the process. I am now a master halo maker!

Think about a time when your parents (or perhaps another adult in your life) went out of their way to provide something that you didn’t need but desperately wanted. Why was this thing so important to you? How did the sacrifice deepen your appreciation for the gift?

Now consider times when God has provided for you in a similar way, by going beyond your needs and providing for your wants. Think back over this past year and try to count the times.

It’s easy to track an ongoing list of life’s let-downs and disappointments. But how much more fun is it to begin counting those small but significant answers to prayers, only to find that we can’t count high enough?

I’d love to hear about the memories that this post triggers in you. Tell me about a time when, instead of allowing you to survive disappointment, your mom, dad, another special adult, or God Himself, made sure that you got your halo and wings!

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