Here’s the song reference.
We moved our classroom over to Nonno and Deedaw’s house today; the cousins were spending the day there, and it was a rare opportunity for the six of them to enjoy each other’s company for most of a day. Bugaboo made a brief attempt to snow Deedaw and Niece into believing that she really couldn’t read her assigned passage, but righted herself when I came in to ascertain why it had taken 15 minutes for her to decipher five lines of thirty-six point text. Deedaw, Niece and I smothered our chuckles at her red-faced and rapid reading of the page thereafter. Interestingly, Beanie finished her seatwork in record time, and received showers of praise from both Deedaw and Nonno as a result.
It was actually a very pleasant homeschooling morning, although I was slightly discombobulated from having to extract books and materials from a backpack instead of my little kitchen cubbies. Mr. Man, Baby Guy, and Nephew wandered in and out of the dining room where we had stationed ourselves, I took a couple of diaper-changing breaks, and Deedaw produced a largish pan of macaroni and cheese just as the last math problems were solved. We even worked in a round of the “Austrian Yodeler” song.
After lunch, the shorty syndicate wanted to go outside. Niece, before heading outdoors, asked Deedaw where she might find a rake. Having been directed to the shed, she proceeded to gather the leaves in the side yard into neat piles.
I should point out here that Nonno has been ill of late, and has had a lot of difficulty getting outdoors to do his usual yard work. Deedaw and I had discussed that last night, and I had assured her that over the course of the week, I would take care of the leaves. Heartened by the unexpected assist from Niece, I grabbed the other big rake, distributed toy rakes among the tinier helpers, and set about raking and bagging the backyard. Bugaboo did heroic service fetching and delivering the big leaf bags, and helping pile leaves into them. We managed to get in a couple of hours’ worth of work before Mr. Man and Baby Guy started “need a nap” meltdowns.
After Bugaboo and Beanie awoke from their naps (the boys were sacked out until nearly dinnertime), I called Deedaw to see how she and Nonno were faring. Niece and Nephew had gone home with their father by then. I marveled to Deedaw about Niece’s willingness to help, and asked her if Deedaw had instructed her to assist.
“No. She did that all on her own. She asked if she could do that right after she got here this morning.”
When I teach my seventh grade Faith Formation class later this week, and ask them the same question I ask every week, Niece will have provided a shining example for young people only a year her junior. Oh, the question?
“How did someone say ‘I love you” without using words or giving you any material thing?”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for a niece who sets an example of comforting the afflicted for Your blessings. Without words, she showed a love that is patient, kind, and humble. Please grant Your blessings the wisdom to remember her wordless teaching as they grow, and help me to reinforce the lesson with my own thoughts, words, and deeds. Grant us all the grace to honor our parents as we should, to be Your face to them as they have been to us. They are Your first gifts to us.