“Moooom, make a date!” Sarah bent her head in determination. As social director for her family making dates is a priority for Sarah. Born with Downs Syndrome, she is a blessing to everyone she meets. I am no exception.
“How ‘bout Monday?” Sarah was beaming and I knew that my evening was booked.
“Trouble and Swiss Family Robinson,” interpreted her mother, Angie.
Changing the subject, “What’s for supper?” I inquired, knowing that the options would be limited. Crab salad if it was summer and if Angie had crabmeat in the refrigerator, spaghetti if the weather was getting cold. “Spaghetti”, Sarah insisted.
“Garlic bread?” I wanted to know; because that was the only way spaghetti, every other Monday was palatable.
“Yeah,” Sarah shrugged, not sure she wanted to share because everyone loved Angie’s famous garlic bread. Customer from the famers market kept calling even after they had to give it up for the catering venture.
“Got new Trouble, one blue piece.” Sometimes the game is missing a piece but it doesn’t matter to Sarah. One stray playing piece from Trouble doesn’t deter her. What is important is the undivided time she gets to spend with her “date.” Winning is surprisingly unimportant; it’s time spent with people that she needs.
“Swiss Family Robinson,” insisted Sarah, but I tried to distract her.
“Three games,” I conceded, knowing that Angie and I had promised each other one hour for a lesson from my new Bible study.
“Sarah, after supper, mom and I are going to the front room to watch a school movie. You can play cards and if it’s not too late, I’ll play a game with you before I go home,” I promised. Watching movies are another priority for her, so it was hard for her to grasp that she was not invited.
“Self-employment has taught me so much,” Angie blew at her bangs “Working with my husband twenty four-seven is not as easy as it sounded. Dan has no idea how to schedule his time.” Knowing it was necessary for Angie to discuss her day with her husband “monkey boy” I let her ramble. “I knew people liked my bread, but I didn’t expect them to like my cooking so much. Trish from the Chamber called this morning, she wants another lunch next week. I keep asking God why he put man in charge. I still don’t have the answer.”
I recalled a previous conversation. “Men, you can’t live with them and you certainly can’t work with them”. Patience had taken a vacation and left Angie holding an empty gas can. “Dan didn’t get out of bed until 9oclock. It started out so great, I was able to have my quiet time, but once he is up, it is like the Spirit abandons me.” At the time, I was in the middle of a Bible study. Earlier I had invited her to join us, but her busy cooking schedule wouldn’t allow her to attend but we both knew she was missing something special.
A couple of the topics tugged at my heart and I knew my friend’s heart needed those words of encouragement as much as mine did. “I’ve wanted to chisel in some time for me lately, but feel guilty every time I wish for some peace and quiet.”
I pleaded my case and won, “What if I borrow the lesson on patience and bring it over next Monday? Sarah and Dan could watch a movie in the other room and you can finally see Beth. She has such a heart for God and I thought of you going home last week.”
“I never thought that leftovers could taste so good, not to mention the extra time I have for Sarah,” Angie kicked off ratty tennis shoes and stretched. “This was a good idea.”
After enjoying warmed over ham balls and party potatoes, the four of us played another game of Trouble and I tried to break the news to Sarah. “Mom and I are going to watch a school movie.”
Puppy dog eyes pleaded with mom, “Why?”
Cupping the lowered chin, Angie tried her best to convince her. “Remember, Janie brought a grown up movie for mom to watch for school.”
“Ok,” but not happy about it, Sarah left the room. At the end of the evening, we all had won; a couple of games, a good meal with friends and time spent in the Word was a winning situation for all.
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