She comes to me all in a lather.
“I can only stay five minutes,” she says apologetically. “Our relatives who are staying with us are planning a party today and they only told me last night, after they’d already invited everyone!” My helper shakes her head incredulously. This is par for the course for these particular relatives of hers, but it’s still stressful every time.
“So, I’m so sorry I can’t work today - I have to stay home and help them get ready,” she sighs, apologetically. “And - one other thing…”
She sits down at my kitchen table.
“My daughter was sobbing last night, and wouldn’t tell me why. I had to pry it out of her. She finally told me today’s the day of the princess pageant at school. She had told me ages ago but I completely forgot with everything else going on, and she didn’t want to remind me because she didn’t want to cause me more stress…
“It’s for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades, and each class chose one girl to be their ‘princess’, so there are only 12 girls in the competition. My daughter’s class chose her, which is a huge honor and it means so much to her. But it’s today, and she needs a princess costume, AND a dress for dancing - each girl has to either sing a song or perform a dance - AND she needs a basket of flowers, PLUS some kind of ‘fall food’ to present… AND they have to wear some kind of ‘fall fashion’ in the fashion show at the end! The teachers decide who wins. I don’t know what to do - she has to be there at noon!”
I glance at my watch. It’s 9am.
We find a basket and some pretty sparkly hairclips. I tell her to raid the garden for the last of the late zinnias. At the last minute, as she’s about to walk out the door, I remember the loaf of zucchini-carrot bread I’d baked yesterday to help her entertain her unexpected guests, and I grab it out of the fridge and slip it into the basket on her arm…
I lay my hand on her shoulder and say a quick prayer for her as she leaves - I can see her head is still spinning about how it will all work out. “It’ll be ok!” I call after her as she trots down the street. “Don’t worry!”
At 3:30, the phone rings. “Can I come over for five minutes?” She comes in and sets my basket on the kitchen table. My sparkly clips are inside, and the basket is still decorated with festoons of bright pink ribbons. I can tell she’s tired, but she’s beaming.
“Thank you so much for all your help - you’ll never believe how well it all worked out!” She’s visibly relieved.
I pour tea for both of us, cup my hands around my mug and lean in, elbows on the table.
“A relative loaned us a princess costume, and another friend’s daughter is a dancer so she let us borrow a dancing dress. I put my daughter’s hair up in rollers last night, so I just used your clips to pin it back and it looked really pretty.
"She carried your flowers in the basket when she went onstage, and she gave a nice little introduction of herself to everyone. She was a little nervous, but when she came backstage afterwards I told her she sounded fine. Then she danced, and later she told me she just pretended she was all alone in the room and nobody else was there - she did really well!
“I was wracking my brain at home before we left to think what ‘fall food’ I could make in time, and then I saw it, right in front of me - your cake! So I sliced it up and put it on a pretty platter, and added some sugar flowers from our next door neighbor who decorates cakes. I told my daughter what was in it so she could introduce it properly - she told the judges she made it with one of her favorite aunties.”
This with a bit of a sheepish glance at me, since it wasn’t strictly true.
I grinned, and said, “Go on.”
“Well, the teachers loved it! It was the only thing of its kind - everyone else brought salads. They thought it was delicious and unique. Then she needed something to wear in the fashion show, so I pulled out her old potato costume - you know, the one you took a video of her in the fall festival two years ago? It was a little small, but it still looked really cute and round, and she just wore leggings under it and we filled your basket with potatoes, and I stuck paper potatoes all over a little umbrella, and she came out and said, ‘I’m a potato!’ It was adorable! And guess what - she won first prize!”
She’s wide-eyed, shaking her head at me, still taking it in. I’m tickled pink.
“We prayed, and God really took care of everything, didn’t He?” I say softly.
She nods. “He really did.”
“Isn’t amazing your daughter will have this to look back on, as something God did especially for her? He wants her to know He’s real, and that He loves her so much.”
She’s nodding again. “I think so too. She was so excited and relieved, and so thrilled to win the prize! Thank you so much for your help, it was like a little miracle.”
I’m shaking my head, grinning. “It was God’s miracle, just for her. I’m just so glad I could be a part of it! You know, in the Bible it says God cares about each little sparrow… I think that must include little girls who need princess costumes ASAP!”
She laughs and nods, and we sip our tea.
A personalized miracle for one precious little girl. My day is made.