Angela’s mom and dad were at the hospital because her mom spilled some water on the floor that came out of her dress. Her mom called her dad at work telling him to come home. And grandma came over from the west side to take care of her.
“When we come home, sweetie,” said mom, “You’ll have a little sister or brother.”
“Just a second,” yelled grandma, “I want to get the last picture of the threesome before it becomes a foursome.” So grandma fiddled with her camera and took the picture. Then mom and dad were off to the hospital.
Later that afternoon Angela was downstairs playing with her train set when the phone rang. She heard grandma answer it then let out a delighted squeal. “That’s wonderful!” Angela heard grandma say, “I’ll go tell Angela.”
“Angela, dear,” grandma called down the stairs. “You have a new baby brother.”
Angela stopped playing with her trains. She pictured herself throwing a football to a red haired, diaper-wearing, chubby little lump. Then she went back to her trains.
A couple days later, mom and dad came home, and with them her new brother. “Say hello to Peter,” said mom. “I know you two will be good friends.”
“We’ll see,” thought Angela to herself.
Angela had trouble sleeping. It wasn’t because she wasn’t sleepy. It was that Peter woke up screaming every hour on the hour. “Why won’t he just shut up and sleep!?” Angela angrily thought to herself.
The next day, grandma had an appointment and dad was called into work, Angela wanted her mom to read her The Runaway Bunny, her favorite book.
“I’m sorry sweetie, but I have to nurse Peter.”
“Can I at least sit on your lap?” asked Angela
“No, I’m sorry, but Peter needs my lap right now. When he falls asleep I can read you your book.”
“No! I want it now!” Demanded Angela.
“No, I’ll read you the story later,” said mom gently but firmly. Angela ran crying to her room, slammed the door, and buried her face in her pink princess pillow.
Later that night while dad was watching the news, Angela came in the TV room and put in a video.
“Angela, daddy’s watching the news. After it’s over you can watch your video.”
“No, now!” Angela shrieked. “I want to watch my video now!”
“Angela, you know you don’t talk to daddy like that.”
Just then grandma called them to the table for dinner. At the table, Angela wanted peaches instead of potatoes. “Sorry, Angela, no. You have to eat what’s on your plate.”
“No!” Angela screamed as she threw her food at her mom who was at the table nursing Peter. Mom had to pick bits of potato and beans out of Peter’s hair. Her mom’s face turned the colour of a ripe tomato and Angela knew she had stepped over the line, but was not backing down.
“Angela, we do not throw food,” shouted mom. Grandma carried Angela kicking and screaming to her room to cool off. But inside her room, Angela got really angry. She tore the sheets off her bed; ripped the stuffing out of her pillow, and sprayed hand lotion all over the walls. She looked at what she had done and was surprised that it didn’t make her feel better, only sadder.
That Sunday, Peter was being baptized. Angela didn’t want to go to church. Her dad wrestled her into her dress and tussled with her to get into her car seat. He muttered a word that Angela knew she wasn’t allowed to say. In church, Angela sat between her mom and dad. Peter was sleeping.
Angela heard the pastor read the bible passage about when Jesus was baptized. When the pastor read the words that God said about Jesus “This is my beloved son,” her mom picked Angela up, put her on her lap, kissed her forehead, and whispered in her ear, “You’re my beloved child,” then held her tight. Angela nestled against her mom’s chest and her dad gently stroked her hair. It felt like old times.
That night as dad was getting her ready for bed and to say their prayers Angela said,
“I don’t like having Peter here. When is he going back to the hospital?"
"He's here to stay," dad replied gently.
Angela frowned and was quiet for a minute or two.
"I miss mommy.”
“Yes, I know. Your mommy misses you as well. But right now Peter needs her. But that doesn’t mean that she loves you any less. You will always be our beloved child just like Peter will also be.”
Angela didn’t know how they could both be their beloved child. But for the moment she was satisfied.
Then they said a prayer like this as we do now:
Dear God, we thank you that Jesus is your beloved child, and we are glad you love us as well. Amen.