Mallie Bee has always been a tiny one. When I put her in Mother's Day Out she was with the one year olds even though she had already turned two. This had been overlooked by the staff for months until one day when all the little ones were in their cribs for nap time. Each time one of them would fuss, Mal would stand up, put her finger to her lips and say "shhhhhhh" until they laid back down. Her teacher loved her and her advanced vocab skills. When they figured out that she was with the wrong age group her teacher asked me if it would be okay if she stayed there until the end of the year.
"She's my little helper at nap time. We don't want her to leave." And so it was that at two years old, Mal was the room mom for a group of napping babies every Thursday.
A few years later she would be in the pre-school Annual Nativity Play. Each child got a part and there was lots of practice before the event that was on the last day of school before Christmas break.
"Mallory has been chosen to play the part of the Virgin Mary," her teacher said and I glowed. Glowed. Our Mal got the lead role? We didn't have lead role kind of kids. We Fishers are more the supporting actor types. Sheep, if you will. I wondered if it had anything to do with me. Surely they had noticed my stellar mothering skills over the years. I polished my halo and got ready for the big day.
In the kids paraded. The donkeys and wise men, the angels and Joseph. Mary. My Mary with the blue pillowcase bobby-pinned to her head. While the teacher read the story of the Nativity, my Mary held the precious baby Jesus in her arms with all the tenderness she'd seen a million times from her own blessed mother.
But after a long ride on a donkey and no room at the inn, my Mary got overwhelmed and rolled Jesus out of her arms and into the manger with a thudding face plant. There was a gasp. I tried to make eye contact with her.
Mallory pick up the Jesus. Pick him up and hold onto him for just a few minutes and then you can have a cookie and a juice box. Please. Just. Pick. Him. Up.
The donkey and angel and wise men parents looked at me smugly as if to say, "Well, well, well. You don't see our kids with their small insignificant roles dropping Jesus on his face, now do you Mother of Mary?"
Mal was unconcerned.
She'd had enough of mothering for one day. She was tired and needed a nap, and so she stuck her thumb in her mouth and sat and waited for the whole thing to be over.
Many a day she might have seen her own mother do that.