Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

ALLEY'S PERFECT ANGEL
Friday, December 28, 2018 by LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

By Linda Wood Rondeau

*based on an actual event

 

“Are you absolutely certain this is the one you want?” I had spent the last hour helping my daughter find the perfect Christmas gift for her kindergarten teacher. We’d trekked the mall until Alley dragged me toward the display of angel ornaments. She quickly selected one from an assortment. 

“This is the one, Mommy.” Alley’s face beamed with joy.

“An angel ornament would make a nice gift, Alley.” I stared at my daughter’s selection … dark. I knew her teacher was Caucasian. “But, maybe you should take a little more time. Do you see the silver ones over there? They very sparkly.”

“I’m sure, Mommy. This is exactly the angel I should get for Mrs. Martin.”

I hesitated once more. How would a gift of a black angel, a child angel no less, given to a white woman from a white girl be perceived? At the same time, I wasn’t ready to have the discussion with a five-year-old about racial biases. In this age of political correctness, would my unpretentious daughter be labeled in some way? Picking up a snow angel from the top row, I tried yet another round of discussion.

“How about this one, Alley?”

“No, Mommy.”

I pulled down a country angel dressed in plain gingham. “This one’s really cute.”

 “No.” Alley squeezed the plain brown angel to her chest. “This one is perfect.”

What’s a mother to do? Lord, a little help here! I could only hope that Alley’s selection would be received in the spirit in which her innocent heart intended. “Very, well.” I squeezed Alley’s hand and proceeded to checkout, ignoring the stare from the black cashier.

The day of the children’s Christmas party arrived, and Alley jumped up and down with anticipation.  “Mommy, have you wrapped Mrs. Martin’s present, yet?”

“Yes.” I handed Alley the wrapped box containing her heartful gift and remained doubtful, but I could not bear to stifle her enthusiastic spirit.

Throughout the day, my heart reeled with fear. When Alley arrived home from school, I bombarded her with the question. “Did Mrs. Martin like the present you gave her.”

Alley looked quizzically at me. “Of course, Mommy.”

I said nothing more and made preparations for dinner … spaghetti … Alley’s favorite.

As she slipped into her now outgrown special chair, I held her hand. “Do you want to say grace, Alley?”

 She nodded, and her sweet request poured from a child’s confidence in God’s ability to answer beyond time and space. “Jesus, please let Mrs. Martin be happy with her angel.”

My cell jiggled in sync with Alley’s “Amen.”

Not a number in my contacts. “Hello?” I said, hesitantly.

“This is Trisha Martin. I was calling about the present Alley gave me—”

“I’m so sorry if it offended you.”

“Offended? Oh, no. Alley’s gift has been a blessing. You see, my daughter married a man from South America last year. While I believe all men are created equal in God’s eyes, I became very angry with the interracial marriage. So angry, I haven’t spoken to my daughter since she told me about her engagement. I received a note from her a few days ago letting me know she is pregnant. I didn’t know what to think or feel. Perhaps I should let go of my anger and embrace the gift of a grandchild.”

I listened attentively.

This narrow-mindedness seemed incongruous with a teacher of a multi-ethnic kindergarten class.

“When I opened Alley’s gift, my heart was stirred. I realized how foolish I’d been. I called my daughter this afternoon and begged her forgiveness. We’re going shopping for baby clothes tomorrow. I just wanted you to know what a very special gift Alley has given me.”

“I’m so glad.” As I disconnected, I felt ashamed at my own biases. I wished for a world that could see angels from Alley's point of view ...God’s reflective light.  I sighed with thanksgiving and gave Alley a big hug. “Mrs. Martin said your angel was perfect.”

“I know, Mommy. God always makes everything perfect.”

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