‘Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” ‘
Tum Tatty Tum!
Now, that title makes absolutely no sense at all . . . unless your name is Kathy and you are looking into the earnest big blue eyes of a little two and a half year old girl named Ava who is tugging your hand and trying to lead you somewhere.
Ava is very special to me. She was the first little baby I got to know when I moved to Edmonton two years ago. Jaycee, Ava’s mom, and I were both participating in promoting the move to our new church — now North Pointe — and I offered to watch Ava while Jaycee was being filmed. Oh, that little Ava was a charmer. She was quite attentive at that time and her eyes saw everything I did — in her eyes, you could see information was being processed. We sat in the hall, and Pastor Bob came down for a visit, too. Her eyes followed him everywhere from then on!
Anyway, I talked with Jaycee just a little and then we parted ways. That weekend, I went to the St. Albert Farmer’s Market with my friend Patti. As we were strolling around looking at specialty foods, fragrant soaps, pottery, etc., I noticed a cute little rubber ducky and could not resist purchasing it for Ava. I gave it to Jaycee in church on Sunday. Shortly after that, Jaycee and I were at a Women’s Ministry event and Jaycee told me that her little boy had received the gift of a rubber ducky when he was a baby, too. Lori Lorence had given him that gift, and though I never met her, Lori played a huge role in my becoming a Christian three years ago. When Jaycee told me about the rubber ducky, it seemed as if God was letting me know I was walking on His path still.
So, I have felt a bond with Ava since the day I met her. That the feeling has been mutual on Ava’s part has not always been clear. In fact, in the last two years, I believe there were three days that Ava actuallly seemed to like me. Typically, when our paths meet and I call out a “Hi, Ava!”, a big “No!” comes back along with an attempt to hide behind her mother. If I persist, the blunt “No!” turns into a wailed “Noooooooooo!” so I have learned not to persist. ( Wait a minute, shouldn’t the kids learn from the adults?)
But on those three days that Ava liked me, I felt like a Queen. Like I could write the book on “Winning Ways With Children.” Like I had learned the combination to a highly coveted club or something. You know what I mean, right? I would live in that bubble until the following Sunday when I would hear “No!” again. Don’t misunderstand me, I knew that Ava was not actually rejecting me with her “No!” and I never took it personally. But those days when there seemed to be acceptance were just very special!
I’m housesitting for Jaycee and Derek for the next couple of weeks, so I went over for dinner last night to get the “low down” on my temporary abode. I wondered how Ava would react to me in her own house. After knocking on the door, Jaycee letting me in, and the dog Griffin greeting me, I turned and said hello to Ava. She grinned her impish little grin and showed me a couple of her toys. After that, Jaycee began showing me around. Ava wanted to show me more toys, though, and came and tugged on me. “Tum Tatty Tum.”
We continued our tour of the house, and then it was time for dinner. A wonderful spaghetti, meat sauce, garlic bread and delicious salad dinner was served. I recall Ava trying to fit fistfuls of cut up spaghetti in her mouth as fast as she could, and she ended up being the first to be done. She got out of her chair and Jaycee washed her hands. Ava came over to implore me with her big eyes and little voice again…”Tum Tatty Tum.” I heard that several times as I finished my meal as quickly as I could so I could experience whatever little treat Ava had in store for me next. “Tum Tatty Tum.”
She grabbed me by the hand and led me upstairs once again to her room. She wanted me to read her “Pooh Bear” calendar to her, so I did. She showed me her baby and her baby’s brush, more toys, and books, too. Jaycee was hosting an Epicure Spice party, and people began arriving. I headed downstairs to join them, but halfway down the stairs, I heard a protesting little voice — “Tum Tatty Tum.”
I continued downstairs and joined the party. What a great time — we tasted a variety of dips and spices and chocolate. Throughout the evening, Ava would look at me from across the room, or come stand by me, or even sit on my lap and sample chips and dips. She would look at me in that special way she has — “Tum Tatty Tum.”
All in all, it was a great evening. Looking back on it now, I realize how truly fortunate I am to be a part of a group of people that includes families like Jaycee, Derek, Ava and Zach. And as I remember Ava’s pretty blue eyes pleading with me, I once again hear God’s voice in my ear . . . “Come, Kathy, Come.”