Sunday, February 18, 2007

Stephen's Rules

The morning dawns sunny. It's Saturday and I've been up early to get a head start on the day. Our big oak table in the kitchen is set for ten--ready for pancakes with six grandchildren and our two children.

By 8.45 or so the pancakes are made, and a big pot of coffee for the adults--and soon the front door bursts open, wafting in a gust of the crisp, cold outside air and bringing in with it Stephen, Joshua and Katherine, while Emily follows in her daddy Peter's arms, looking slightly dazed and unsure at being out and about so early in the morning.

Upstairs come running Tiffany-Amber and Victoria to join their cousins, and Brenda too. Soon Paul comes down from our bedroom and we are ready for the most happily chaotic breakfast ever with English pancakes sprinkled with sugar and lemon juice, then rolled up like jelly rolls, and smaller "regular" pancakes too, with variations on the theme of sugar, syrup and lemon juice!

After breakfast there is a Cinderella 3 movie to watch with the girls. Stephen picks up a game and asks, "Omie, can we have a game of Sorry?"
"Not right now darling," I say, and I see a flicker of disappointment cross his face, so I quickly add, "But in a little while I'd love to!"

Later in the morning Stephen brings the Sorry game into the kitchen and we begin our game. There is nothing like a game with a five year old, to teach you that rules are not rules at all--just tools to accomplish a purpose. Stephen's Rules give me a glimpse into the heart of a little boy who is tender hearted and very loving. As we play the game, his whole purpose is not to win, but to ensure we end up at the end of the game "home" at the same time--or even to make sure I get there first. We long ago gave up ever actually using the "Sorry" card when we draw it. By mutual agreement it is glanced at and put aside--on to the next move!

Stephen draws a card, looks at it, then says with resolve in his voice,"I'm not going to use it." He does it again at his next move--giving me time to get around the board. I say to him that he has such a kind heart.
"Like God," he says.
"Wow," I think.

Joshua, three, joins us. His rules are even more flexible than Stephen's if that were possible.
"One, two--I won!" he declares, then says, "Your turn."

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