It was another great morning. Someone asked how many there were in the toddler room today. I replied 100. (Actually, it was more like 10, but it seemed more like 100.) Bed babies had a full house, too. It was great, great, great.
We had a couple of cute little Egyptian children today, "Ramses" and "Cleopatra". (I hope I don't need to tell you that those are NOT their real names.) They were first-timers. Ramses is around 2, maybe 2.5, and Cleo is close to, if not already, a year. Their mom was insistent that they be kept together, not separated. Ram wreaked havoc in the infant's room while his sister Cleo threw a tantrum fully befitting her royal name. I moved across the hall with the two in tow, into the toddler room (which was in the midst of the "Mommy's gone--I'm scared and mad" crying fit).
Cleo kept up her tantrum for almost the entire two hours she was with us. She did let me rock her, though, and she settled down somewhat when I put her in a stroller and pushed her around a little. Ram enjoyed the toys in the room and showed the typical Middle Eastern mathematical superiority as he recognized and named the shapes before putting them into the "shape-it" ball. He also let the women in the room know that HE didn't have to do what they told him to do, he was above their rule. I've seen this before with little guys like him--it always amuses me. However, he did consent to "fix" the slide after he turned it over--I told him, "Ram, fix it." He attempted to stare me down, but after he found out that was impossible, he turned the slide right-side up again.
What really touched me and meant so much to me this morning was his mama's attitude when she came back to pick the children up. She was without a doubt, one of the most precious women I have met in my two years of Friendship. She truly seemed so thankful to us for taking care of her children. She thanked me over and over. She asked if Cleo had cried all morning. I truthfully told her yes, but that she seemed to be more angry than sad. Then she asked me what she could do next week. I told her to come back and bring her children back. She seemed surprised that we would keep Cleo with all her crying. I told her we LOVED the children, that it was all right with us if they cried. We tried to help them stop crying and be content, but we would NOT stop keeping them just because of their tears. I asked her (Mama) if she had fun this morning. She replied that yes, she had. I then asked her if she had learned any English--I saw that she had signed up for the ESL class--and she replied yes, lots. Then I told her that absolutely she should bring the children back, that (I repeated) we loved them and we were glad that we could take care of them for her. I do not think I have ever seen a more grateful person in my life. Her attitude and amazement at our love for her children made every snotty tissue, every strained muscle, worth while.
One thing about Friendship: it's a ministry. It becomes awkward at times to try to communicate the love of Jesus to these folks, when we've been told explicitly not to mention church or religious subjects to them. It was all I could do to keep from telling Mama today that when we show love to her and her children, we are doing what God does for her--that He loves her, even when she is crying and doing the things that should be making Him unhappy with her. He never abandons her, He never stops loving her. We can't tell her, so I guess we'll just have to keep showing her how much God loves her by the way we care for her children. What a wonderful experience, to be a part of this ministry.
Good night to all, and God bless.