By Maritza Brunt
Naomi was so excited she could barely sleep. Tomorrow she was going to go and spend the day with her grandparents, all by herself! Her mum and dad were going to take a long drive to look at some houses.
“Would you like to come with us, or would you like to spend the day with Grandma and Grandpa?” Mum had asked Naomi.
What an easy question! Naomi loved spending time with her grandparents. Before bed, she had written a list of all the things she wanted to do at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and she couldn’t wait to check them all off.
The next morning, Naomi was the first one out of the car when they pulled into her grandparents’ driveway. Running to the front door, she pressed the white bell and put her ear to the door, listening as the chime sounded inside. She heard Grandma’s footsteps and scooted back from the door just in time for it to open.
“Hi, Naomi!” said Grandma, giving her a big hug. Grandpa was right behind her, and he ruffled Naomi’s hair and took her backpack from her.
“Have a great time,” Dad called from the car. “And remember to listen to your grandparents, Naomi!”
“I will!” Naomi called back. “Bye!”
Grandma shut the front door.
“Well now, Miss Naomi. What are we going to do today?”
Naomi hopped excitedly from one foot to another as she pulled out the piece of paper from her backpack.
“What’s this?” laughed Grandpa, looking at the list. “Pick flowers, read a book, play the piano, eat a yogurt pouch, paint a picture…”
Grandma smiled as she read over Grandpa’s shoulder.
“What should we do first?” she asked.
“Play the piano!” shouted Naomi.
“Okay, let’s go put on a concert,” said Grandpa.
Naomi made a beeline for the piano room. Suddenly, she stopped.
“Oh! Wait a minute, I want to take a photo of everything we do today so that I can show the pictures for our Show and Tell at school this week.”
Naomi ran back to her backpack and dug through for her little polaroid camera. She tried to turn it on, but it wouldn’t work. Frowning, she played around with the camera, trying to figure out why it wouldn’t work. Finally, the little yellow light came on.
“Yes!” Naomi said out loud. Then she looked around. Grandma and Grandpa were nowhere to be seen.
They must be waiting for me in the piano room, thought Naomi as she hurried back.
“There you are!” said Grandma when Naomi appeared. “We thought you might have gotten lost!”
Naomi giggled. “Grandma, I was just getting my camera!” She snapped a photo of the piano, waited for the print to appear, then took another of her grandparents sitting on the couch.
“Okay, now I’m ready.”
When Naomi finished at the piano, she decided she wanted to eat a yogurt pouch. But first, she had to use the bathroom. Grandma and Grandpa waited for her in the kitchen.
Then she wanted to go upstairs and paint, but first she wanted to change her socks. Then she had to go to the toilet again. And then she decided to change her jumper, too, so it wouldn’t get paint on it. Again, Grandma and Grandpa waited for her.
Naomi and her grandparents spent a long time in the upstairs sunroom painting colourful pictures. Grandma drew a cat and a dog. Grandpa drew some trees and a lake. And Naomi drew a big, mixed bunch of beautiful flowers that she’d seen growing in Grandma’s garden.
“Look, Grandma, look, Grandpa!” called Naomi once she was done.
Her grandparents came over to admire her work.
“It’s beautiful, Naomi!” said Grandma.
Grandpa agreed. “Just as pretty as the ones in your garden, Grandma.”
Naomi stood up. “That was the next thing on my list! I want to go and pick a big bunch of flowers from the garden that look exactly like my picture. Can we do that?”
Grandpa smiled at her. “I’m going to go and make a phone call and then have a bit of a rest, but I’m sure Grandma would be happy to take you out into the garden.”
“Of course we can go,” said Grandma. “Go and put your shoes on and I’ll meet you by the back door.”
Naomi grabbed her painting and hurried down the stairs. She got her gumboots on in record time and ran to the back door. Examining her picture, she couldn’t wait to recreate it in real life.
Except… Where was Grandma?
Setting her painting down, Naomi walked over to the foot of the stairs.
“Grandma?” she called up.
There was silence.
“Grandma?” Naomi yelled, louder this time.
Grandma appeared at the top of the stairs.
“I’m coming, Naomi,” she said. “But I’m just on a phone call at the moment. Grandpa and I are talking to your uncle. Would you like to come and say hello?”
“No!” said Naomi. “I want to go and pick flowers!”
“We will,” said Grandma. “You just need to wait.”
Naomi thought for a second. “I’ll go out into the garden and you can meet me there!”
“Naomi,” said Grandma. “It’s a very big backyard. You know you’re not allowed out there without a grown up.”
Naomi sighed. She did know the rules. But she just wanted to pick her bunch of flowers!
“Okay,” she grumbled.
Grandma hurried off to her bedroom again. “I won’t be long!” she called.
Naomi wandered back to the door that led to the garden and sat on one of the wooden benches Grandpa had made. Her gumboots made a noise on the tiles as she scraped them back and forth, back and forth. Then she heard a noise. Grandma! she thought.
It was Grandma. But to Naomi’s disappointment, Grandma wasn’t heading her way. She was walking to the front door. As Grandma opened it, Naomi could see one of the next door neighbours standing on the front step.
“Victor! How are you?” Naomi heard Grandma ask the neighbour.
Oh, that’s just great, Naomi thought angrily. This is going to take forever! Naomi looked out the window at the flowers. She knew better than to go outside without her grandparents, but all she wanted to do was pick her flowers! Surely Grandma and Grandpa could talk to the neighbour some other time. After all, he lived right next door, and Naomi was only visiting for the day.
Getting up, Naomi headed for the front door. Grandma was still talking to the neighbour, and Grandpa had joined her. Squeezing her way around them both, Naomi firmly planted herself in between the neighbour and her grandparents.
Grandpa ruffled her hair. “This is our granddaughter, Naomi,” he told the neighbour.
The man smiled. “Hi, Naomi!”
“Hi.” Naomi didn’t even bother to look at him. Instead, she turned to Grandma. “Can we pick flowers now?”
“Naomi!” Grandma looked surprised. “I told you before that you just need to wait!”
“I don’t want to wait anymore! You’re taking too long!” Naomi shouted.
The next door neighbour looked over Naomi’s head at her grandparents and gave them a nod. “I’ll come back this afternoon,” he said, and turned to leave.
“Sorry, Victor. We’ll see you then,” called Grandpa, as Grandma grabbed Naomi’s hand and jostled her back inside.
Once the front door was firmly shut, Grandma and Grandpa both turned to Naomi.
“What on earth was that about?” Grandma asked Naomi. “You were downright rude to the neighbour.”
“You told me we could pick flowers!” said Naomi.
“Yes! And we were going to pick them!” said Grandma. “But I also told you that you needed to wait for me. You didn’t do that.”
Grandpa bent down to Naomi’s height.
“Why were you in such a hurry to pick the flowers, Naomi?” he asked.
Naomi thought very hard, and realised she didn’t have a good answer.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “I just really wanted to check everything off my list.” Grandma sat down next to Naomi on the couch, and took Naomi’s small hand in her soft, crinkled one. “We will tick everything off your list, Naomi. I promise. But you need to learn that we can’t always get what we want right away. Sometimes we need to wait a little bit. That’s called patience.”
Grandpa nodded. “Think about all the times today we waited for you, Naomi. Remember when you had to go to the bathroom? And then get your camera? And then change your clothes? We were patient with you.”
Naomi sat up straighter. “I know about patience! My Bible teacher said it was a fruit.”
Grandpa smiled. “She was probably talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. Those are just qualities that Jesus had that we want to have, too.”
Naomi looked at Grandpa. “Was Jesus more patient than you and Grandma?”
Grandma laughed. “Oh, most definitely. Jesus was never in a hurry, and to this day He always has lots of patience for when people make mistakes.”
Naomi stared at her lap, feeling sad for the way she’d acted earlier.
“I’m sorry, Grandma and Grandpa, for not being patient before,” she said. “And I’m sorry for being rude to your next door neighbour. I guess I have a lot to learn about being patient.”
Naomi’s grandparents hugged her.
“We forgive you,” said Grandpa. “But we all have bunches to learn about being patient, too!”
Grandma started laughing. Naomi and Grandpa stared at her.
“What’s so funny, Grandma?” asked Naomi.
“Come on,” answered Grandma. “Let’s go and pick some bunches of flowers. Then every time we look at them, we’ll be reminded to have a bunch of patience.”
And for the next week, each time Naomi looked at the bunch of flowers sitting in a vase in front of the painting she’d drawn, she remembered the lesson in patience she had learned that day at her grandparents’ house.
And every day, she asked Jesus to give her a bunch of patience—as big as the beautiful bunch of flowers she and Grandma had collected.
PICTURE CREDIT – Deposit Photos