Driving home Sunday, something in the atmosphere made Mary think this was the absolute, best, most necessary time in the world to get a happy meal. I’m not much of a McD mommy any day of the week, but we Mormons take the Sabbath pretty seriously so I didn’t even consider her request, especially two minutes from home and a well-stocked pantry.
But Mary persisted, “I neeeeeeeeeeeeed a Happy Meal. I’ll DIE without a Happy Meal.”
The boys were horrified, “But it’s Sunday, Mary. We don’t go out on Sunday.”
“Is this about church?” my little spitfire retorted, “Cause I don’t care about church. I don’t care about the stupid gospel. I NEED a Happy Meal.”
Smothering laughter, I drove home while Mary muttered “stupid gospel, stupid gospel” from the confines of her car seat.
If she were my first child, or even my 3rd, 4th or 5th I might have been horrified. Where did I fail in teaching her? What about all those “little children are so close to Jesus” stories?
But in Mary, I have learned to admire her audacity. By all accounts I was a mellow little girl: eager to please and unquestioning of any authority. It wasn’t until later in life that I had to discover WHY I believe and not simply WHAT I believe.
Mary’s face is such a mirror of my own that I occasionally forget that we are separate people, that she has a life outside my arms and ideals. But Mary dances with a confidence I’ve never owned. She struts down the hall at church and parts the wave of people with the sheer force of her spunky personality. At school, she supervises the playground games as each child obediently bends to her will.
She’s a powerful little person and if I try to control her every action I will surely fail. My job is to teach her kindness, charity and compassion (all synonyms really) and if she eventually chooses a life of Happy Meals each Sunday, so be it.
Just be sure to thank the poor kid who makes your hamburger, sweetie.