Toilet Paper, Stickers, and The Great Helper

When Allison was a toddler, we used to hold her up to the wall where all our family photos were displayed and play “Who’s that?” You have probably played this with your own kids. “Who’s that?” we would ask. “Grampa Briese,” Allison would reply. This was a way for Allison to know her great extended family, to learn the names of those familiar faces and to learn about family members like Grampa Briese, who passed away before she was born. She could tell you, “Grampa Briese is Papa’s daddy.“ So too, we introduced her to Jesus, Mary and the Saints in the same way. When we played “Who’s that?” Jesus, Mary and sometimes other Saints were always part of our family photos. I didn’t want Allison to only learn of Jesus in “church” or to learn of Jesus in a “special” conversation. I wanted Allison to know Jesus as part of her family, as the King of our family.

And so too, in her room, she has a picture of her two year old self, taken with her great-grandmothers. One of these grandmothers has since passed away. Next to her picture of her grannies is a prayer card with a smiling Jesus, laminated for little hands. She will take both of these down from time to time and kiss them, her grannies and her Jesus. Next to these, she has a statue of Mary (which she always wants to sleep with) and a statue of a young Jesus. We start our day with “Good Morning, Jesus. Good Morning Mary.” We end our day with “Good Night, Jesus. Good Night, Mary.”

Allison is now four years old. Most work days my schedule allows me to not worry about getting into my office at a certain time, so the morning “get out the door” routine is not rushed. However, there are exceptions, mornings when I do need to leave by a certain time. One particular day, when I needed to leave early, Allison wasn’t in the mood to be rushed. “Allison, go get dressed,“ I said. “Okay, Gramma,” she responded. A few minutes later, she returned from her room, pajamas still on, arms overflowing with toys, talking about something that happened at school yesterday. “Allison,” I cried in frustration, “we are going to be late.”

“You are going to be late, Gramma, I’m not.” Well, I guess that put things into perspective for me. She was right about that. She doesn’t have to be anywhere at a specific time. “Let me go with you and help you get dressed,” I responded, as we headed to her room.

As I was standing in the bathroom, waiting for her to choose her hair barrettes, I noticed the empty toilet paper roll. I took the empty roll off just as she cried, “Gramma, I want braids.” Setting the toilet paper holder down on the bathroom counter, I braided her hair for her. Concentrating on the braid, I didn’t notice that she had picked up the toilet paper holder and pulled it apart so the spring came out and it was in pieces.

Now Allison is a curious girl, and very smart. I get that and, trust me, she gets plenty of opportunities to explore her curiosity. This, however, was my last nerve. “Allison!” I exclaimed in a loud enough voice to startle her. Why do you insist on taking everything apart? How many times have I told you that you need to ask before you take things apart? That’s it! I need a time out,” and I stomped out of the bathroom.

Papa went in while I calmed myself down. He fixed the toilet paper holder and when I walked back into the room, Allison was hugging Papa. When she saw me, she came running over to embrace me and said, “I’m sorry, Gramma.” “ Yes, Sweetie, I know.” After explaining to Allison the importance of taking care of our home and our things, Allison nodded in agreement, saying she understood.

I left to get my shoes and told Allison to get her sweater for school. As I came back into the bedroom, I caught Allison attempting to scrape stickers off the wall of her bedroom. We had that discussion yesterday when I came into her room to find stickers everywhere: on the walls, the furniture, and on her stuffed animals. I thought we had removed all of them, but we missed some and Allison was busy trying to remove them. I was so touched that she understood what I said. She was trying to make up for disappointing me and trying to do what I asked of her. As I walked closer to her, I noticed she was using something to lift the stickers from the wall…. what was it?

It was her Jesus prayer card.

“Allison, are you using your prayer card to get the stickers off the wall?”

“Yep, Jesus is my great helper.“

“Yes, yes he is.”   Thanks, Sweet Baby, for reminding me of that today.

During this Lenten season of repentance, we may stumble during our 40 days of sacrifice. Let us fall on Jesus. Let Him be our great helper in getting us back up and staying on our path. We may need to face the difficult things in our life that we don’t want to hear, that may even startle us. We may need our Heavenly Father’s embrace to find the strength to apologize for our transgression.

Will you let Jesus be your great helper?

Jesus, Allison’s Great Helper
Allison and Her Grannies

6 thoughts on “Toilet Paper, Stickers, and The Great Helper”

    1. Sue, thank you for the encouragement.It means so much because I write what’s in my head, but never know it it is something that anyone else cares about, thank you for always encouraging me, it keeps me writing…..

  1. Dear Jean,
    As always, I enjoy your writings. I find myself smiling as I read the antics you tell of little Allison…..such a blessing for both you & Don! I can still visualize when she
    just learned to walk & she would give her “old” Grandpa a run during mass when she decided to run off!!
    Keep on writing……
    Mary Westwood

  2. Patience with a pre-schooler is hard to come by sometimes. I loved your experience. We often forget how much we influence our grandchildren in a good way. We are one of their important teacher.

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