It was summer.  It was hot.  Mimi had taken the kids to the beach, not because she liked the beach….oh no….but because she loved her grandkids and THEY liked the beach.


The kids were all anxious to get into the ocean and play in the sand.  Mimi had put her blanket far away from the shore.  She was so afraid of sharks and jellyfish and creepy things in the sand.  All the way there, she had told the kids over and over again about how they needed to keep close to her and not to go more than ankle deep in the water.  She didn’t want to scare them, but she didn’t want to be scared either!


First, she gave all of them some suntan lotion.  “Jake and Alexa,” she said, “Make sure you put a lot on you.  You have fair skin.  I don’t want you to burn.  It hurts.”


“Okay, Mimi,” they said.  “Can you put some on our backs?” asked Alexa when she was done slathering the front of her.  There were white streaks of lotion around her eyes and on her nose.  There was a glob of it in her hair.  Mimi didn’t even take it off.  Better to have too much than not enough, she reasoned.  Then she gave the tubes to Rebecca, Nathan and Giana.  Giana needed just a little bit of help to get the back of her neck.


“Can we go now, Mimi?” asked Giana.


“Please, please, please?

” the rest chimed in as they jumped up and down with folded hands.


Mimi laughed.  “Ok, but remember what I said!  Watch out that you don’t go too far out, that you look down when you are walking in the water and if you play in the sand and something starts crawling out, get out of there!”


Rebecca smiled.  “Mimi, you’re so scared of EVERYTHING!  We’ll be ok.”


Mimi reluctantly let them go.  She kept a very watchful eye on all of them.  As a matter of fact, keeping up with five kids running here and there gave her a headache.  Her eyes were darting back and forth following Alexa and Giana who were building a sand castle and running into the water every time a wave crashed to shore.


But it was a peaceful afternoon after all.  No kids got swallowed by a whale or gored by a shark, no crabs got a hold of their hands when they were digging in the sand, no one had to rescue anyone.  So in Mimi’s book, that was a FIRST!  She never went anywhere without SOMETHING happening!


When Mimi thought the kids had had enough of sea and sand and they looked a little tired, she motioned for them to come to her.


“Can we go now?  Has everyone had enough?” she asked.


Nathan wanted to stay a little longer, but he finally gave in and said he was ready.


As they were leaving, Mimi told the kids to put on their shoes.  The sand had gotten very hot from the noonday heat.  All of the kids had flip flops except Giana.  She had sneakers with laces.  (It took Mimi quite a while to convince her not to wear her princess shoes!)


Mimi was not watching her.  She was busy with the other kids and was also packing up everything.  All the picnic basket items were all over, and the shovels and pails, the towels, etc., had to be picked up.


Giana was just learning how to tie her shoes and she forgot she had already tied one knot and tied another one on top of it.  When she realized it, she tried to get it out herself.  She thought the way to get a knot out of her shoe was to pull hard.  She gritted her teeth and grunted as she struggled to pull as hard as possible.  Now the knot was very small.  She tried again, but decided she better give it to Mimi.  Mimi could undo anything….almost.


“Here, Mimi, fix my shoe please,” she said as she handed Mimi the sneaker.


“Giana!  What did you do to this knot?  It’s so tangled I can’t see which end is where!”


“I tried to fix it Mimi.  I pulled and pulled, but it just got more messed up.”


“I see that,” said Mimi.  “You should have given it to me right away.  I could have fixed it then.”


All of the kids sat down to wait for Mimi to get the knot out.  She worked at it for some time to no avail.  The kids started to get bored and hot.


“Can we please go back in the water?” asked Rebecca.


Mimi felt bad for them.  She figured it would be quite a while before that knot came out so she told them to take off their shoes and go ahead.


“Yay!!” they all shouted.


Where they got the energy to go back out there again was beyond Mimi.


Waves were getting big as the tide was coming in.  Mimi didn’t notice.  She was so engrossed in that knot.


Suddenly, she heard the whistle of the lifeguard.  Her heart started racing wildly.  Was it one of her grandkids?  Quickly she stood up and started to count.  “One, two, where’s three?  Oh, there he is.  Four, four, four, four, oh oh where’s five?”  Mimi was so scared she forgot who five was and started screaming, “Five, five where are you?”


She raced up and down the shore yelling, “Number five!  Number five!!”


People were looking at her.  They thought it was such a strange name for a child.  Why would you call a child ‘Five’?  They thought.  Boy, some of them said to themselves, I’ll freak out if she starts yelling for 35!


Mimi forced herself to concentrate.  Which one is missing? She asked herself.  I’ll start with the oldest.  There’s Rebecca, and Jake is with her.  Nathan, where’s Nathan?  Oh, he’s on the side of that rock.  There’s Alexa.  Aha!  It’s Giana!  She started to yell, “Giana, Giana!!  Everyone was looking at her again.  They wondered if ‘Five’ was related to ‘Giana’.  They got up to help Mimi look.


Meanwhile, Giana had gone back to the blanket.  She was still trying to take that knot out.  Mimi didn’t think to look there.  She was looking in the water.  When she heard everyone calling her name, she ran up to Mimi who was now ankle deep in water.  Mimi was trembling.  She could just imagine what might be slithering along her leg right now.  NO!  She would not let her imagination take control.  Not this time.  This was too important to freak out about sea stuff.


Giana tapped Mimi on the shoulder.  Mimi screamed and dove into the water and kept swimming as fast as she could.  Giana just stared at her.  “Mimi! It’s just me, Giana” she called out.  But Mimi was already out of earshot.  No one (including Mimi) knew she could swim that fast!


Rebecca thought Mimi should enter the swimming competition.  She would surely win a prize.


Alexa saw Mimi and started yelling with Giana.  “MIMI!!!  Giana is safe.  Come back. She is the one that touched you.  It wasn’t a fish!”


Finally, Mimi heard the kids and saw Giana.  Relief showed on her face.  She waved to them.  It was then that she realized that she was way out over her head.  How could this have happened? She thought.


Giana called out to her.  “Mimi, you’re not supposed to go more than ankle deep!”


Just then a snorkler popped his head up right next to Mimi’s shoulder.  Mimi screamed and made it back to shore in record time!


“Mimi, you’re naughty!” yelled Giana.  “You went too far out.  You scared us!”


“Sorry, honey!” said Mimi.  “Don’t worry.  It certainly WON’T happen again!”


Mimi went back to untying the knot in Giana’s shoe.  Again, she said, “Why didn’t you bring me this as soon as you knew you had a knot?”


“Because I tried to do it myself,” said Giana again.


Mimi finally got the knot out and put Giana’s shoes on.  They trudged back to the car and hopped in.


On the way home, Mimi told the kids that she had an object lesson for them.  They loved Mimi’s object lessons.


“When Giana gave me her shoe, she had already made a mess of the knot.  That’s because she pulled against it and made it tighter.  She tried to fix it herself.  Mimi asked her why she didn’t bring it to her right away, remember?”


“Yes,” said Jake.


“Well, that’s like us.  Sometimes we make a mess of our lives.  Sometimes we try to “fix” it ourselves by pulling against God instead of bringing the problem to Him first.  Then we bring Him our mess and beg Him to “fix the knot” we’ve made. We must remember to come to God every day and tell him our problems right away so He can fix them before we make a bigger mess.  Don’t be afraid to tell God your problems.  He’s great at fixing things.”


Nathan looked at Mimi.  He thought about what she had said.  “Well, I’m going to pray that He fixes you, Mimi!  I don’t want you to be scared any more of the ocean because I like coming here.”


“Good idea,” said Mimi smiling.  That day, everyone learned something!

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