by Kari Diane Pike
Recent attempts to broaden my reading horizons and (guilty admission here) a search for something to binge on on Netflix because I watched every episode of Gilmore Girls and needed something to tide me over until the new episodes come out, brought my attention to a particular theme common to nearly every genre: the search for the ultimate weapon (like a super soldier) - someone or something to defend and protect from or even destroy the enemy.
They need not look any further. I encountered a real life secret weapon last Sunday. Code name: "Sunbeams". Sunbeams (for those not familiar with vocabulary from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - Sunbeams are the children who are three-years-old, turning four) have the ability to enervate even the most experienced adult. They lure the poor patsy in with shy, dimpled smiles and coy giggles. They peek from behind their parents' backs, wave their chubby fingers, and create a false sense acceptance. Once left alone with their common enemy, Sunbeams synergize and zero in on their victim's greatest vulnerabilities. They take no prisoners. They paralyze and then suck their prey dry. Except for the tears. Sunbeams leave behind lots of tears. I should know. I was there. Me, a veteran mom with more than thirty-five years and nine plus more children worth of experience.
I knew I was in trouble when one of the four Sunbeams in the class declared: "Don't listen to her. Let's play pretend and I'll be the king and you can be the princesses and the wizard and she (meaning me) can be the witch because she doesn't talk nice to us."
I had told them I was disappointed in them because they were using their outside voices and not listening to the story. I would have to talk to their parents, I said. They would be sad, I said. I guess I did lay it on a little thick. Plus, I didn't have food. Never let yourself get trapped with Sunbeams without food or they will turn on you. Really, really fast.
I changed my tactics and we spent the rest of class time singing and playing "Button, Button, Who's Got the Button." Their parent's picked them up at the door. My husband took me to the car where I melted into a puddle of tears.
For some reason, I can't wait to go back. Maybe that's what makes them the ultimate weapon. The enemy actually wants to go back for more. I really do love those Sunbeams. Some days are easier than others. You can bet I will be better prepared from now on. I will go in armed with prayer, patience, smiles, love, and lots of snacks.
Life is magnificent!