You know how when your kid says something, and you think, “Wait, what?!” About a week ago, Margaret said something that made us perk up. She started saying, “Jesus is coming!” We’re not particularly religious people. We don’t go to church. Organized religion just isn’t our thing. So, when she came to us with this prophecy, Henning and I were like, “Wait, what?!” It’s not like she heard this from us, unlike some of her more colorful phrases. We asked her to repeat what she was saying, and miracle of miracles, she did: “Jesus is coming!”
Now I’ve watched 70s/80s horror movies, so I know that sometimes young kids have a preternatural ability to predict the future and/or foretell impending doom. Maybe I shouldn’t take her statement as idle chatter. Henning and I started thinking that we should take the donation pile to Goodwill to make sure we’re helping our fellow man enough, just in case. Then we started to inquire about this end-times prediction:
Me: Margaret, are you saying Jesus is coming?
Margaret: Yes (she’s very agreeable, which seems nice, but doesn’t necessarily mean she’s agreeing with you. She’ll say “yes,” even if she means “no.” She’ll say “no,” even if she means “yes.” Basically, she’s not to be trusted.)
Still, I pressed on.
Me: Where did you hear this? (Yes, I’m asking my 22 month old to answer a question that requires her to (1) remember that someone told her something and (2) remember who that person was. Futile, I know.)
Margaret: Jesus is coming?
I started thinking that maybe in addition to taking the donation pile to Goodwill, I should volunteer at a homeless shelter, and I should definitely stop smack talking. Maybe I should stop swearing, but really, I think God has a sense of humor and is impressed with my ability to turn a phrase. I could stop drinking, but there was that whole water into wine thing, so let’s not go too crazy.
Cut to Friday. Margaret’s school was closed, and Henning and I decided to take the day off to spend quality time with her. After all, Jesus might be coming. We were rushing around that morning preparing for our cleaning lady when Margaret started spouting her prediction again: “Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!” And I thought, “Well, I suppose the end is nigh. At least my house will be clean.” Then a few minutes before our cleaning lady arrived, something in my brain sprang to life. It’s that primal mom part that just knows something about Margaret without any tangible proof. I realized that Margaret wasn’t predicting the second coming, she was foretelling the arrival of our cleaning lady, Teresa: “Teresa is coming!” Teresa is really hard for Margaret’s little mouth to say, so it comes out sounding much holier.
Teresa comes every 2 weeks, and the time in-between basically goes like this: Teresa comes and everything is clean. Teresa leaves and everything is still clean for about 20 minutes and then one of the dogs needs to go out. I warn them to not track anything in. They track something in. I curse them and clean up the mess. We have dinner, and Margaret drops something. The dogs sort of clean it up. They need to go out again; they track something in. The cat sheds all his hair. Things quickly unravel from there, and we’re practically living in squalor by the time Teresa is supposed to come again. Sure, I try to stay on top of it, but ain’t nobody got time to steam the kitchen tile or sweep the hardwood when there’s Instagram, Facebook, and Netflix, and I have this little blog here and want to make you laugh so I can feel important. I realized that Margaret’s incessant prophesizing was probably related to the frenzy that Henning and I create in the week leading up to Teresa’s imminent arrival, which goes something like this:
Me: Does Teresa come this week? (Surveying the ruins of the weekend.)
Henning (Thinking really hard): Yes…I think so.
Me: Yes, she’s coming because she wasn’t here this past Friday (as if I knew the answer all along).
Me: Teresa is coming. We should really start to straighten, but we got a Boardwalk Empire disc today. We need to remember to get cash this week. I paid her with a check the last two times; she doesn’t like that.
Henning: Teresa is coming. I meant to get cash on my way home from work today. I’ll get it tomorrow.
Me: We need to straighten
Me: Shit…I mean doo doo! Teresa is coming!
Henning: Shit…I mean poop! I forgot to get cash!
Me: We need to straighten. (Put everything into carefully stacked piles; minimize Margaret’s mess by taking her for a walk while Henning cooks dinner because Teresa is coming, and we need to clean for her!)
Henning (after dinner): I’ll go get money for Teresa while you give Margaret a bath. Sound Ok?
Me: Yes. We still need to straighten some more.
Me: I need to put our clothes away for Teresa.
Me: Margaret, we need to pick up the 40,000 tissues you took out. Teresa is coming.
Me: Henning, did you leave Teresa’s money on the kitchen counter?
Henning (as he leaves with Margaret): Hope all goes well with Teresa today (I work from home, so I’m here while Teresa cleans.)
I can see why Margaret would pick up on our week-long discussion about Teresa’s arrival and realize its significance. Teresa comes and washes away the dirt and makes our house clean again. So, praise Jesus? If you need me, I’ll be burning in hell.
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