I'll admit it. For a couple of minutes when I heard the unmistakable sound of breaking glass and realized the two-year-old was AWOL, I was really upset.
And when I realized that she was standing on my computer printer and the broken porcelain included the nativity scene that I have displayed every year for the last 30 years, there was a moment when I almost lost it.
And then I looked at her little face.
She didn't MEAN to destroy anything valuable; she was looking for where the lights came from. And she was clearly upset that I was upset, even though she didn't know why.
I looked at her and I realized how lucky I am to have a little person in my world who is healthy and inquisitive and climbs on things and looks for where the lights come from. I've been reminded of that many times when I have seen friends and co-workers lose little ones to accident and deadly disease.
I remember once when the mother of a visiting toddler cried after realizing that her fast-moving son had pulled down and broken most of a climbing house plant in my living room. I gave her a hug and told her not to worry; that I never met a plant that I liked as much as a child.
And in my heart, I smiled a little, because I knew the broken pieces of that plant could go into a pot of water and produce a dozen new plants.
And as I picked up Mother Mary (now in two pieces and missing an arm) and Baby Jesus (beheaded, poor thing) I realized that a little care with some porcelain glue and they'll be around for the next 30 years,and I smiled a little because there will be a few little cracks to remind me of the day that this little one was two years old at Christmas.
God bless the two-year-olds everywhere. Keep them safe. Let them grow. And please God, bless the parents and grandparents everywhere, especially in this season of joy and stress,with the patience for noise and activity and the realization that the precious days fly by with incredible speed and are gone forever.