Anchor of Faith
by Teresa Brouillette
It was the big day! The day they had been looking forward to for weeks. The grand prix!! For weeks my children had been talking about their club pinewood derby car race. They had checked out books at the library and each had carefully planned and crafted their cars design. Being the first year all three were old enough to participate in the race, both excitement and competition were running high.
I knew something was wrong as soon as my son got up that morning. Jacob’s eye was…
red and he complained of an ear ache. An afternoon trip to the pediatrician confirmed my suspicion of infection.
With the doctor still in the room, I extended her a quick apology and told her I needed to make her the “bad guy.” I explained the scheduled evening race. Turning to Jacob, I told him he would not be able to attend. Before he could protest, the doctor quickly agreed and gently explained of how he would be contagious to his friends.
When the doctor left the room siblings attempted to console their brother. “It’s okay,” they said, “we can just take your car for you, and get the trophy if it wins.” I quickly shushed them, suggesting their good intentions were not exactly comforting.
My son sat motionless on the examination table, staring intently at a spot on the wall just above my head. As I searched for words of comfort, I noticed a single tear trickle down his cheek. I rose from my seat and embraced him. “It’s just not fair!” he insisted while fighting back sobs. “Mom, it’s only once a year. Why did I have to get sick today? Why today?” I prayed a silent prayer.
I was thankful it was only a couple hours before the rest of the family left for the race. Although still disappointed, Jacob was encouraged by the prospect of picking up a movie for just him and me. As we scanned online for the new release he wanted, we learned it was another week until it would be available. He shrugged, put on a weak smile, and suggested we search for something on Netflix.
The situation called for some serious cheering up. Jacob and I jumped into the car and drove to our nearest McDonald’s drive thru. As fast food was a rarity, and usually only a snack from a value menu, a kids meal with a toy was a treat.
Jacob’s excitement at picking up dinner was evident. Arriving back home he hurried to our dinner table. When I suggested we eat in the family room while watching a movie, he stared at me in stunned silence. I quickly explained he had to eat off the coffee table, could not spill food on the carpet or furniture, and most certainly could not tell his bother and sister that I let him have dinner in the family room. His eyes twinkled with mischief and his face broke into a huge grin as he nodded in agreement.
Food settled on the coffee table, Jacob quickly scanned to the movie he wanted. “Please?!?” he pleaded as he highlighted the 1990 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
We don’t watch a lot of television and select our family movies with care. As I read the movie to verify it was the older version, I took the opportunity to question my sons selection. It was about turtles that are mutated after all. Oh, no, wait, they are also teenagers that do ninja. Turtle teenagers! He was quick to laugh and banter with me.
Only a few minutes into our movie and we began experiencing technical difficulties. At our third failed attempt to restart the movie, Jacob dropped his head. It had been quite a day of disappointments, and I braced myself. With a bowed head, my son folded his hands and asked if we could pray together.
We prayed for the derby race. We prayed for the safety of our friends and family traveling to and from the race. We gave thanks for the wisdom of the doctor and availability of medical treatment. Finally, we prayed and asked for our movie to play. Jacob softly added that if it was not an appropriate movie for us to watch, it would be okay if it didn’t work.
We tried to load the movie a final time, and it played. We laughed. We ate fast food. We were careful not to spill in the family room. We even paused the movie long enough to get bowls of ice cream, which we also ate in the family room!
Long after I put the kids to bed that night, I heard my boys whispering over all the events from each of their evening. Whispers of derby trophy’s and tales of mutated turtles. Jacob even attempted to tell his brother that I had allowed him to eat a full dinner and dessert in the family room. His brother didn’t believe him.
Yearly derby races with club friends are a lot of fun and events that will hold great memories. Years from now I hope my son will have another strong childhood memory. The evening his disappointment became joy. I pray it will be an anchor in his growing faith.
Teresa is a postprofessional public employee who went from professional management to chasing 3 busy homeschoolers. As a mother of 5 she juggles being a wife, homeschooling mom, and blogger. Teresa writes about her families adventure of life and learning, through all the tears and laughter. Add in a typically dysfunctional extended family and it’s a continual adventure in seeing how God somehow works it all together. Seeing that her real life story was better than anything that could be made up, it only seemed logical to write about it. You can connect with Teresa through Facebook or follow her on her personal Blog page.