So on a wintery Wednesday morning my loud-shouting high-climbing rough-and-tumbling dirt-magnet boys play dolls. They’re the dolls my mom still has from when we were little. They survived us four sisters and they’ve survived our eight kids. We had supper at my folks last night and the boys asked to borrow two dolls, some blankets and a pram. One of the dolls is Coral’s Baby Angel and it’s at least three decades old and mostly the eyes still blink when they should.
This morning I bring my coffee to bed and Cam and Scott bring the dolls who must be girls, they agree, because they are wearing pink. They name them Emily and Rosie. Cam says their parents have died so we are looking after them. He says his baby is very good. She doesn’t cry much. And she lies very still when she sleeps. Scott says, ‘Catch Mom!’ and lobs his baby feet first at me and my coffee. He retrieves her and power slams her face-down on the duvet crooning gently, ‘Don’t cry, baby.’
Cam instructs Scott: ‘Don’t punch her in the stomach. She will vomit.’ Which leads to the glorious and exciting assumption that both babies have a violent stomach ailment. He’s jumping – delighted – ‘Mom can I get a bucket for the babies to puke in?’ He hurtles in with a bucket just in time because…
Scott (ecstatic): Look! Baby puking in a bucket! (puking noises)
Cam (jubilant): Mom look! Did you see my baby puking in the bucket?
Me (weirded out): Ya… Um… Cool…
Cam decides they should take the babies on a ship trip to a sand island. There isn’t space for everyone so he gallantly swims there wearing a life jacket. Scott interjects intermittently with variations of: ‘Yes Cam! Me too! Let’s go! Follow me! I fell out the boat! My turn!’ And every now and then he looks out the window for the aeroplane that (he thinks) Dad is (still) in.
I get more coffee and I watch them and call me crazy but I keep thinking of Isaiah 41:4 – ‘Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the LORD, the First and the Last. I alone am he.’ And I pray that this generation of little men – beckoned to the stage of this century – would have the extraordinary compassion and courage to change the world.