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From the Heart of a Child

A Bead RingWe had been in our new house (well, new for us) for a couple weeks now, yet the garage still held a number of boxes. I tried to get an early start one morning, carrying in my craft boxes to the family room one at a time, going through them and organizing them, and finally moving them into the closet. While I sorted through one box, my daughter Jessica noticed a container of beads.

“Can I play with these?” Jessica asked.

“Me too?” Aiden, the youngest, jumped up and ran over as well.

I gave them the container of colorful plastic letters and shapes and asked them to work on plates so the beads wouldn’t spill onto the carpet.

“I’m going to make something for you, Mommy, so don’t look until I’m done,” Jessica told me.

I finished with the boxes and, as the kids were still busy with the beads, I went into the kitchen to make them sandwiches for lunch. I was nearly done when Jessica came running in, showing me a string of color. “This is for you,” she called out. “The green bead is supposed to be the middle, because green is your favorite color. Can you tie it for me?”

“One second,” I answered and turned to rinse my peanut-buttery hands. I heard rather than saw what happened. The untied string slipped and the beads fell to the ground, scattering on the tile. She bent down immediately and started picking them up without a word. “I’ll make another one,” she said, trying to smile.

“I’m sorry, sweetie,” I tried to reassure her. “It was beautiful and I’m sure the next one will be even better.”

I was cleaning my bedroom when she came in next. “This time I used the letters,” she called out to me. She reached forward and somehow Aiden crashed into her at just the right (or wrong) time. She lost her grip on the untied necklace. I didn’t even see the pattern before the pieces fell to the floor. This time, I saw the tears although she tried to hide them by picking up the beads once more.

“I bet it was beautiful,” I said. She shook her head. I gave her a hug. “Are you going to try again?” She nodded and ran off.

A little while later, she ran out to the patio where I was helping my husband set up a few things. She handed me something. “It’s a bracelet this time.” I quickly grabbed it before it fell and tied the ends tightly. The “bracelet” could have fit on a doll’s wrist. I tied it and Jessica noticed that it was a little small.

My sister, who had come for a visit, said it could be a ring. “Maybe it’s better as a ring,” Jessica said hesitantly. I slipped it on my finger and my daughter smiled.

Of course, I couldn’t keep a ring of beads on my finger, but I found a perfect place for it. On the top shelf of our computer table I keep a few odd items:

  • A bit of PVC pipe and a ping-pong ball — visual aids from a writer’s workshop I attended last year
  • A small plastic hourglass — a reminder to make the most of every minute
  • A tiny drum ornament on top of which are a penny, a toy car wheel and a golden bee-bee — a unique gift from my son

And now, added to those, is a tiny bracelet-ring made of colorful plastic beads — to help me remember the gifts that come from the heart of a child: adaptability, perseverance, and love.