Katie is a beautiful little girl who is 4 years old. She is petite and had long, dark, curly hair and big brown eyes. Several months ago, when she had just turned 4, she was allowed to go across the alley to her 4-year-old friend’s house to play.
She hadn’t been gone very long when her mother received a phone call from her friend’s mother, who insisted that Katie’s mom should hurry over to the house. She did, not knowing what to expect.
The other mother was almost in tears as she pointed to Katie, who was sitting patiently like a little pixie surrounded by her long, dark, curly hair, which lay in curls all over the floor. Katie’s little friend stood confidently by Katie, in the middle of the curls, scissors still in hand.
As far as the others could find out, it seemed the two little girls had decided that Katie should have hair like her friend. So being a good friend, the other child got the scissors and obliged. The only thing surprising about this is that two little girls worked together in this adventure in hair cutting.
About three years ago, our then-4-year-old grandson took the scissors and gave himself a haircut that resulted in clumps of hair missing from various parts of his head. It took a hair stylist several weeks to get him restyled to something almost normal.
In Katie’s case, one trip to the hair salon changed apparent chaos into a really cute pixie cut, which Katie likes a whole lot better than long hair. Katie’s mother is still thinking about it.
Way back when I was 4, I gave myself a haircut when my dad was babysitting me. I went from long Shirley Temple curls to a crew cut in front that gradually grew out enough to become bangs. The only long-lasting results of my foray into hair styling were that my dad was never allowed to baby sit for me again, and he began to realize a quiet child is not necessarily a good child.
Technically Katie is not our grandchild as the blood lines flow. However, she surely is a “grand” child. One time many years ago at a circus a palm reader looked at my hand. She pointed to a whole bunch of tiny lines on the outer edge of my palm. “These are your children,” she somberly announced.
There were a lot more lines than the eight children I wound up with. “I’ll have that many kids?” I gasped.
“No,” she replied. “These are the children of your heart!” I wondered what she meant, but I didn’t ask. Now I know. I have more children of my heart than I can count, and Katie is definitely one of them.
She went to church with her aunt last week. They sat right in front of us. Katie wanted up where she could see what was happening, but she was too heavy to hold for very long. Her aunt wiped off her shoes and let her stand on the seat.
At first Katie was content to look around. But then she extended both arms out from her sides and began to move them around. I thought she was trying to fly, but when I looked down I saw that she was poised on her tiptoes. Then I knew she was a ballerina.
When they passed the collection basket, Katie watched with great interest. When it came to her row, no one put anything into it, so Katie raised her little hand to take something out. Her aunt stopped her just in time.
Katie had a ball when we did the handshake of peace. I really think that is recess time in church for most of the preschoolers. Then it was time to walk down the aisle to receive Communion. The priest blessed Katie’s forehead, and Katie just stood there and waited for her treat. Her cousin managed to move her back to the pew as Katie softly said, “But I’m hungry too.”
I really think Katie is a child of all our hearts.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Jan. 28, 2004.