My mom grew up going to church, but she had given up on organized religion by the time I was a kid. Despite this fact, my mom is often baffled by how little her children know about religion.
Last week, my mom, sister and niece visited. Each night they were here, my four year old niece would typically choose to sleep in her grandma’s bed rather than with her mom.
One night, after my niece had said “Bless you” many times to my mom’s many sneezes,* my mom decided that she should say a prayer in thanks for her family. When she started her prayer, however, my niece got a bit weirded out.
“Who are you talkin’ to, Gramma?” she asked.
“I’m talking to God,” my mom answered.
“Is he in here?” she asked, more concerned.
My mom then went into a little explanation of how God is a good guy, always around to look after people. Later it became clear that my niece was unconvinced by the description, because my niece left the room as soon as my mom dozed off. Her explanation?
“I was scared of that nice man Gramma was talking to in our room.”
* When my sister was little, she thought that the word for sneeze was bless you. She would say things like, “I blessyou’d all over my hand.” It was cute and gross at the same time.