Dear Brynn’s Mom,
Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to bring your daughters to AWANAs, our Wednesday night church program. What a blessing that you share your precious girls with us!
Your three year old Brynn is making a big adjustment to let go of you for the evening, although she likes having her sister there for support. I volunteer with Cubbies, the program for three to five year olds that both of your daughters participate in. I have three year olds in my small group, so I spend most of the evening with Brynn.
Brynn gets my attention with a gentle tap on my arm that she repeats. Tap. Tap. Tap. She then announces, “I miss my Mommy.” Wisps of white blond hair surround her cherubic face as she puckers her lip, trying not to cry.
“Of course you do.” I always try to validate her feelings before I offer my hand and present the next activity. “Your mommy will be back later, but first, let’s go to our big group time and sing.” Brynn likes to hold my hand as we walk through the hallways. She quickly distracts from her sadness and readily engages in the next activity.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Brynn gets my attention after the activity to declare, “I miss my Mommy!” Again, the quivering lower lip accompanies attempts to swallow instead of cry.
“Yes, Brynn, your mommy will be here later.” I point out Brynn’s big sister, who is on her way to the classroom, and urge, “Let’s go hear our Bible story!”
Last month, Brynn was the first to raise her hand for a question, eagerly proclaiming, “Christmas is when Jesus was born!” Her smile was huge, her confidence unshakable, her assurance contagious. May God keep her faith deeply rooted and ever-developing.
Tap. Tap. Tap. Again Brynn’s rallying almost-cry, “I miss my Mommy!”
Again, Brynn reaches for my outstretched hand and melts my heart with her angelic hazel eyes. I try to encourage her. “Your mommy is coming back soon, but let’s go learn our Bible verse, hear our Apple Acres story, and color.”
Our group of three year olds learns a weekly Bible verse, usually four to ten words long, which we practice as a group. Brynn loves to learn the verse, and is usually one of the first girls to offer to recite the verse alone from memory with her bold, “I want to say it by myself!”
As we transition between activities, I often get the familiar tap, tap, tap followed by Brynn’s “I miss my Mommy!”
My responses are similar. “Yes , you will see her soon, but let’s go to the gym . . .watch the Cubbie Bear puppet show . . . have our music time . . . first.”
Before Christmas, I had the honor of holding Brynn’s purple butterfly headband for gym time. I soon put the headband down, along with my reading glasses, so that I could join in the fun. The group of three to five year olds (and a few of us older ones acting that age) laughed, walked hesitantly, and even ran as we balanced a jingle bell on our head across the gym. As always, when I looked over at Brynn in the middle of the group, she was smiling and having fun.
In our group time afterwards, when Miss Becky asked the name of the baby who was born at Christmas, Brynn was the first to enthusiastically call out “Jesus.” Oh Lord, may Brynn always be first to call on Jesus’ name and may that be her strength and hope in life. God, please build in her a great faith that touches others with Jesus’ love.
Toward the end of that night, I felt the usual tap, tap, tap. Before I said anything, Brynn looked up at me with her sweet face and triumphantly exclaimed “I don’t miss my Mommy!” Brynn’s big girl moment: she could relax and enjoy the evening, convinced that you would be there for her afterwards.
Reflecting on Brynn’s lesson later, I thought of my grief journey after my mother died two years ago. I would often say out loud, “I miss my Mom!” and then cry in mournful remembrance. Recently, my pain and sadness in remembering my mother have transitioned to nostalgia and love. Brynn’s big girl moment was a meaningful illustration for me. In Brynn’s adjustment to living life, having fun, and being reassured that her mother will be there at the end, I found an illuminating example of how to cope with my own sadness.
Using Brynn’s big girl words of confident hope, I prayed similar words to God: I don’t miss my Mom! I know that I will see her again later – in heaven.
Brynn’s Mom, thank you so much for the gift of letting your sweet daughter teach me a lesson about eternal life and God’s reassurance.
[Originally posted January 2015]