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When Deanna K. Klingel reached out to help a tired mom, she received an unexpected lesson about giving thanks.

It was Thursday of Holy Week. I was waiting in my car – the waiting room of 2020-21 – for my husband’s medical procedure to finish. This, in itself, an answer to a lengthy prayer of perseverance, was already good news. In the car next to me were a pregnant mom and her 4-year-old daughter, waiting as well, for their grandma.

I watched in amazement. How many positions can a 4-year old morph into? Using her seat belt as a gymnastic apparatus, she walked up the window, across the ceiling, down her mother, and ended in a somersault over the back of the seat. A quick flip and she’s back in the front seat, twisted like a pretzel, head between her knees. In between her exercises there was a discussion concerning the packages on the back set that apparently contained the new “Easter Dress,” which only good sense says must be tried on, immediately. A few more ceiling walks, seat vaults, and flips; I couldn’t stifle my laughter any longer.

With my mask on, I rapped on the woman’s window. “Hi,” I said. “I’m going to take a little walk around outside the building. I wondered if Little Miss Ants-in-the-Pants would like to come along?”

The woman stared at me, the stranger, and when our eyes met, I knew that of all the acts of charity I’d tried for the past 40 days, this one may have been the most important. At least, it was the most appreciated! The aerial artist grabbed her sweater and we went for some air and exercise. (Not that she needed that, but her mom could sure use some space!)


fringe tree


“Look,” I said, pointing at the blooming shrub. “Can you guess why this is called a Fringe Tree?”

“Yes,” she answered immediately. “Because bees love fringes. You know, I know everything about them. My daddy told me all about the bees. I know awwwl about them. Bees like fringes – oh, wait, I think I mean flowers, not what you said – because they like necker. Necker grows inside it. They need necker to make honey. What they do is, they suck up the necker, like this, see? (Picture an elephant trunk slurping). And then when they suck up all the neckers it makes their legs all yellow and fuzzy. Then they go up to the high and drop it all off. Then they mix it all up in the high pot and there you have it, they made honey! Just like that! Like a magic miracle. I like honey. Do you like honey? Do you keep it in a high pot? We do.”


bee in honeysuckle


Without so much as a breath, she continued. “Do you go to church at Easter? I do. I like to sing. I have a new Easter Dress. I can do twirlies in it. Can you do twirly?” The demonstration was familiar. What girl child has never done a twirly in her Easter dress?

I said I didn’t think I could manage a twirly anymore, but I could skip. “Can you skip?” I asked. “No, that’s what you do in the first grade. I only go to kinergarden. Didn’t you know that I’m four?”

 “Oh, well, I could teach you to skip and you’d be ahead of the class!”

“No,” she said. “I’ll just do twirly for now. When you go to church do you say thank-you-fors? At Easter I will say thank you for to God for my new twirly dress and thank you for all the honey bees. How about that?”

“I think God will smile and say ‘You are welcome,’” I said. And I’ll be saying thank you for little girls in twirly dresses who mishear things, and who show us how to be glad and rejoice, something we might forget as we get older, and stiffer. (Still mishearing, though!)


Click to tweet:
I’ll be saying thank you for little girls in twirly dresses who mishear things, and who show us how to be glad and rejoice, something we might forget as we get older. #catholicmom


Later, the nurse told me when she went out to get them, the little girl did, in fact, have on the new pink twirly Easter dress, spinning in the parking lot in her bare feet. Tired mom. Some things are best to just let go.

I thought of them during Easter Mass. I could imagine her singing her little heart out while twirling in her new dress, because that’s what you do when you’re four and you love God and bees.


little girl twirling in a red and white dress

Deanna-Klingel-headshot-1Copyright 2021 Deanna K. Klingel
Images: Canva Pro

About the author: Deanna K. Klingel is the author of books for young and young-at-heart readers. She attends conferences and book festivals, speaks at schools, museums, historical events, and libraries, and inspires readers and writers of all ages. Visit her blog at BooksbyDeanna.com and follow Deanna on Facebook.