October 2, 2008

Thank you, Riley!

I used to be very scared of snakes. When I was little, all my brother had to do was hiss like a snake and chase me and I would freak out and scream. My poor mother. A snake got loose in our classroom in 4th grade. Unfortunately, I was the one who noticed as it slithered by my foot. I was shaking for the rest of the day. That was me. And then, I started to babysit for a six year old boy named Riley. Riley's chief ambition in life was to be just like Steve Irwin of Jeff Corwin. In fact, we would play Steve Irwin instead of playing other games little boys usually play. It was his favorite thing to do. Riley had about 50 rubber snakes, of varying sizes and 10-15 large stuffed ones. Yes, stuffed. Why someone would even think to make such a thing is beyond me.
One thing my brother taught me was to show no fear. So, I grinned and stuck it out. I even got books from the library so we wouldn't spend the entire time playing Steve Irwin. I learned a lot about snakes. I did not learn to love them, but I did learn to respect and even admire God's incredible workmanship and imagination in creating these colorful and sometimes even beautiful creatures.
And it served me well. When a guest and Emily brought a snake to the door the other day, I did not freak out. Yay! I stayed calm and showed interest in this exciting moment in my children's life. And now they don't know that mommy is quite unfond of snakes. I hope it always stays that way and that I am able to pass on a healthy respect for part of God's creation. Thank you, Riley, for unknowingly teaching me about beauty in dislikable things.

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