Jealous Jenny

Jenny couldn’t wait to tell her mom she won the spelling bee. They worked until 10:30 the night before on the especially hard words.

“Mom! Mom!” She called, dashing through the front door. Jenny looked in the kitchen but Mom wasn’t there. She looked in the garage and the garden, but Mom wasn’t there either.

“Mom! Mom!” she called running through the house.

“What is it, Sweetie?” Mom said from upstairs.

Jenny already knew she must be with her sister, Cammie.

“Oh, hi Jenny,” Mom said. “Just a minute.”

Mom was changing the bandages on Cammie’s foot. Saturday morning Cammie helped Mom with breakfast and accidentally bumped the coffee pot, spilling hot coffee on her foot. She screamed and their cat, Max, bulleted straight up in the air. Mom, Dad and Jenny took Cammie to the Emergency Room and the doctor said her foot had third degree burns. After he treated it, he told Mom she would have to clean the burn and change the dressing every day. Cammie cried every time Mom touched her.

Knowing Mom might be a while; Jenny changed her clothes and started her homework. Then the phone rang.

“Hello,” Jenny said.

“Hi Jenny,” said Grandma. “How is Cammie?”

“She’s crying. Mom is changing her dressing.”

“Oh dear,” said Grandma. “Would you tell Mom I called?”

“Sure, Grandma.”

“I love you, Jenny.”

“I love you too, Grandma.”

When Mom finished changing Cammie’s dressing, she started cooking dinner.

“Mom,” said Jenny.

“Jenny, I can’t talk right now. Can’t you see I’m busy?”

 “Yes, Mom,” Jenny said and a tear rolled down her cheek. Lately it seemed Cammie got all the attention. On her birthday she got the prettiest pink Barbie glasses. Jenny wanted some too, but Mom said she didn’t need glasses. And Cammie got another pair of new shoes.

“Mom, why can’t I have new shoes?” Jenny had asked.

“Jenny, we’ve talked about this. Cammie’s toes go slightly together when she walks, making her shoes wear out faster. You, my dear, have perfect feet and out grow your shoes instead of wearing them out.”

“It’s not fair, Mom. I want new shoes. These are ugly!” Even as Jenny cried she knew Mom and Dad couldn’t afford to buy new shoes for her when her shoes held up so well. Besides Dad had received a 15% cut in pay. Jenny overheard her parents questioning how they would pay house and car payments, doctor and medicine bills.

Jenny helped Mom clean up the kitchen after dinner and wondered if she would ask about the spelling bee. She didn’t. Tears welled up in Jenny’s eyes. When they finished their work, Mom said, “Now do your homework, before time to shower and get ready for bed.” Then she saw Jenny’s tears. “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing.” Jenny saw Mom stressing over so many things.

“Jenny, I know you don’t cry for nothing,” Mom said. She put her arms around Jenny and together they walked to Jenny’s room. “Now tell me what’s going on. Is it something at school?”

“Mom, it’s nothing. You have other things to worry about.”

“But I love you and I am here for you.”

“It doesn’t feel like it, Mom.”

“What do you mean?”

“Mom, can’t you see? Cammie’s gets new shoes a lot more than I do. She gets pretty pink Barbie glasses. And if she isn’t going to the dentist, she is going to the doctor about one thing or another. I want new shoes and glasses. I want you to love me as much as Cammie.”

“Jenny, do you think I love Cammie more than you?”

“Yes!”

“I don’t, Jenny. Cammie has special needs. Your shoes are perfectly fine. They don’t have holes in them. You can see to do your homework without glasses but Cammie can’t. You don’t have toothaches, but she does. What am I supposed to do?”

Tears spilled down Jenny’s face. “You’re supposed to take care of her, like you do.”

“But how can I make you feel better? I don’t want you to feel left out.”

“Well, for one thing you could ask me how I did in the spelling bee. Don’t you remember how hard we worked last night?”

“Oh Jenny, yes. I remember and I’m sorry. Please forgive me? I’ve been way too busy but I didn’t mean to forget you.”    

Falling into Mom’s arms, Jenny cried big sobs. Comforted, she said, “I forgive you, Mom. I don’t want to be a problem. I just want to tell you I won the spelling bee.”

Brushing her daughter’s hair out of her face, Mom said, “I am so proud of you, Jenny. You are my princess and I love you more than I can say.”

“Thank you, Mom. I’m sorry for being jealous.”

“You’re forgiven, Jenny.  Remember people, even I, will let you down from time to time, but God will never let you down. He loves you more than you can imagine and promises to be with you always. When you feel jealous, you can tell him just as you told me. He understands and will make you feel warm inside from His love.”

“Then that’s what I want to do.”

 “Would you like to start now?”

Jenny bowed her head. “Lord Jesus, I’m sorry for being jealous. Help me to feel your love instead. Amen.”

 Mom smiled and held Jenny close.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you too.”

 * * * * * * *

Have you ever felt like Jenny, that your parents loved your brother or sister more than you? I did.

Did you feel silly feeling that way when your brother or sister had special needs? I did too.

Lord Jesus, help us to know you are always with us, that you love and care about us even when we think we are being left out. Amen.

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