Every night after dinner, we all hold hands and Wally IV says a family prayer. Since Wally Ben started talking, we taught him his own prayer, “Thank you, Jesus, Amen,” which he could say at the end. Then we let him get down from his chair. (This process, of course, has morphed his prayer into, “Thank you, Jesus, Amen, Out, out, out, out,” so we will hurry up and let him down.)

Because Wally Ben is two, he tends to do two-year-old things during the prayer. He fidgets. He picks at crumbs on his plate. He says random things, like “I want dessert” or “The fish were afraid of the shark” or “Barbecue napkin dog.” His dad has to stop praying on occasion to say, “Shh, Wally, we’re praying, close your eyes.” Wally Ben stares at me until I look up, and then he says, “Shh, mom, we’re praying, close your eyes.”  I wonder, occasionally, if he gets what we are trying to do.

Our prayer list is long and growing. I would guess we have a regular 15-20 people that we list at the end of the prayer who need help for various reasons.

Tonight Wally IV needed to bring Vivi upstairs for her bath before Wally Ben was finished eating, so I waited downstairs for WV to finish. When WV was done, family prayer fell to me. I said a prayer, and ended by trying to list the various people we pray for every night. Husband Wally has the prayer list down pat and blazes through. My listing was jumbled—everyone was mixed up, and by the end, I was sure I was forgetting someone important.

I looked up at Wally Ben, and said, “Who am I forgetting?” This was more of a rhetorical question—me thinking outloud.

Wally Ben looked back at me, and said something. Since I was not expecting him to answer, my mind was all jumbled and I thought he was spouting some of his typical nonsense. “What?”

“Katie Vree.”

And it clicked. Help Katie Vree to walk. (She is a close family high-school-aged friend of the Ottenhoffs who had a random virus that left her paralyzed, and she is now working very hard at regaining the use of her legs and is gaining mobility again. I wrote about her last November on our church’s blog, so if you want to learn more check it out, including the attached video. Add her to your prayer list, if possible, please!)

This means Wally Ben listened to my jumbled list of people and picked up on who was missing. It means he probably absorbs and participates most nights. Yay God! (Or, if you’re not religious, “Barbecue napkin dog!”)

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