Ray and I had a sweet day off yesterday. We spent the whole day with our younger daughter and her five children and the evening with her husband, too. One activity was playing at a splash pad in a town nearby.
The littlest one crawled everywhere in the water beneath the water spouts, while the other four squirted each other and their mama and me with their water blasters.
Our almost four-year-old grandson and I later played house in a play structure in the adjacent playground. He was my dad, and I was his little girl, Charlie. His six-year-old brother happily pretended to be our mostly well-behaved dog.
I didn’t know my pretend name until my “Daddy” made me an imaginary birthday cake, lit the candles, and looked into my eyes and sang me a solo of “Happy Birthday”—very slowly like a native southern boy. When he got past the “Happy Birthday to yous” and to the “Happy Birthday dear so and so,” he paused and thought. Finally he inserted the name Charlie and finished the song. My heart melted at the sweet and precious serenade.
In his imagination, catastrophe struck our pretend house at least twice. Once we had to flee because of an imaginary storm, and once we had an imaginary house fire. Both times my Daddy quickly reassured his little girl and repaired our house. Then we were snug again. While he made pretend repairs, he warned me to be careful. He told me when it was safe for him to do something but not safe for me.
I confess that two of my favorite scenes were when it was nighttime, and we lay down on the bouncy, warm artificial grass and “went to sleep.” Ahhh, that felt nice.
After we left the park, we stopped for a picture of a street sign that we noticed when we arrived. Here I am, “Little” (my grandma name) beside Little Street.
My pretend Daddy made me feel safe, even when pretend dangers threatened, and he offered words of comfort and reassurance. All children deserve that kind of safety. All God’s children have it from their Father in heaven.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Therefore humble yourselves
under the mighty hand of God,
so that He may exalt you at the proper time,
having cast all your anxiety on Him,
because He cares about you.
1 Peter 5:6-7