"Can I go, Dad!" Theresa's blue eyes batted innocently, "Pleeeeese!"
"No," was the dreaded answer. "And that's final."
"But Dad," she pleaded, "All my friends are going! It's just a party, it's no big deal!"
"It it's no big deal, then why do you want to go so badly?"
Theresa's temper flared. How could he be so mean? Why did he have to worry about everything so much? He was completely ruining her social life. "Dad, you just don't get it!" she cried. "You don't care about me!"
"Theresa," he sighed, trying to be patient. "Everyday I see kids who wish their parents would tell them no. I can't let you go because I love you. Someday you'll understand."
Her eyes were no longer innocent, but were now filled with rage. She made as much commotion as possible storming out of the room. "He must have some serious losers at his school," she thought as she slammed her door. "Who in their right mind would want their parents to say no?"
Ten years later…..
"I'm sorry, Eddie," Theresa consoled her young son. "I can't let you ride your bike in the street. You'll have to stay on the sidewalk."
Eddie looked at her with annoyance. Even at four he knew it wasn't fair that his friends were allowed to play in the street and he wasn't. "It's not safe," she explained. "It's against the rules."
"But Mommy," Eddie pleaded, "There's no cars!"
He was right; there wasn't much traffic on their quiet suburban street. But she and her husband often saw local teens driving too fast. One of them could easily turn the corner and not see the children playing. "No Eddie. I'm sorry. I love you too much to let you play in the road. Someday you'll understand.
One year later….
"Are you sure Eddie will be okay here all night?" Theresa asked her mother-in-law. "He won't be too much for you with Anna here?"
"He'll be fine," she answered. "Besides, it will be good for Anna. Thanks to the divorce she's been shuffled from parent to parent. She'll enjoy spending more time and playing with her cousin. They won't be any trouble."
Theresa knew her mother-in-law was right. Anna's life had been turned upside down. She and her little brother, still in diapers, hadn't had any since of a normal home life in quite a while. She needed family connections.
"Well," Theresa said as she turned to Eddie, "I've got to go now."
"Bye Mommy!" he called.
"Bye Aunt Theresa!" Anna chimed in.
Theresa pointed her finger at Eddie and stated firmly, "Now, you behave yourself."
Her attention shifted to Anna as she proudly answered, "Oh, I will Aunt Theresa!" Her dark brown eyes were wide with anticipation. Her face unabashedly expressed her hunger for love, stability and discipline.
Theresa's heart broke for the girl. She realized that Anna was hungry for the very thing she had taken for granted all her life. Blinking back tears, she turned her maternal finger toward her niece. As firmly as she could manage she said, "And I mean it."
As she gathered both children in her arms she realized that she finally understood.
* * * * * * * * *
"Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in."
2004 Copyright – Lisa D. Beaman