It was Sunday morning and I was awakened by the cries of my three-year-old. Fear seized my heart as I jumped out of bed, knowing that my toddler had managed to rise before me, as so many young ones do. I hurried to the bathroom where my son, Shawn, stood in the bathtub with one eye in a squint, screaming at the top of his lungs. At his feet lay a broken bottle of aftershave that his father had forgotten to put safely out of reach. I assumed that the rest of it had gone into his eye, but just to be on the safe side I smelled his breath to see if he had drank any of the liquid. There were no cuts on his hands or feet, and I scooped him up in my arms with a sigh of relief.
“What were you doing?” I asked as I washed out his eye.
He ignored my question.
“Mommy,” he exclaimed, "Where did the two Jimmys go?”
With eyes now wide he looked around the bathroom.
“Two Jimmys?” I replied. “Honey, what on earth are you talking about?”
“Two Jimmys right there at the bathtub,” he said. “Now they’ve gone away!” The only Jimmy I knew of was my nephew—a tall 16-year-old with wavy blond hair. He and his mother (my sister) had visited us the evening before and Jimmy had played with Shawn, carrying him around the yard on his big shoulders.
“Jimmy went home with his mother last night,” I replied.
“No!” Shawn said stubbornly. “There were two Jimmys right there,” he insisted, pointing at the tub.
Curious by now, I decided to go along to see how the story would play out.
“What did the two Jimmys want?” I asked.
“One of them knocked the bottle out of my hand,” he said.
“Were you going to drink it?” I asked.
“Uh-huh,” he replied softly, looking down at his feet, knowing that he was not supposed to drink such things.
“I’m glad you didn’t because it could have made you very sick,” I said as I washed his face and gave him a small lecture on danger. “What about the other Jimmy?” I asked. “What did he do?”
“Oh, the other Jimmy said he was going to wake you up before I got hurt real bad,” he said. “And then there you were,” he smiled, clapping his hands together.
As I prepared our breakfast, my son went into the living room to play with his toy train and the day moved along with the two Jimmys forgotten, replaced by the busyness of church and family. Then, a few weeks later it was my turn to teach the pre-K church Sunday school class The lesson for that particular Sunday was about guardian angels. I assigned each child a task to draw and color a picture of what they thought their own guardian angel looked like. As I went over the lesson about guardian angels and how Jesus sends them to protect us from harm, I showed the children a large poster that I had discovered in the church closet. It was a colorful painting of two young men, angels wearing white flowing robes with blond wavy hair and big strong wings.
When my son saw the picture he smiled brightly.
“Look, mommy!," he shouted. “My two Jimmys!”
Then he turned to the little girl sitting next to him and said: “Two Jimmys visited my house and knocked daddy’s aftershave out of my hand. They did that so I wouldn’t drink it and get sick,” he said in a nonchalant way.
“My two angels are called Andy,” the little girl said as though it were no big deal. “They caught me with their wings when I fell off the roof of my playhouse and kept me from breaking my arm. But their wings tickled my nose,” she giggled.
Of course! I thought. The “two Jimmys” that my son had spoken about were his guardian angels. Maybe they chose to take on the appearance of my nephew so that Shawn would not be frightened. Or perhaps they just resembled my nephew Jimmy, with big strong arms and wavy blond hair. Either way, the explanation satisfied me and from that time on I knew without a doubt that children have two guardian angels—maybe even more! How else could so many of these little ones reach adulthood without that extra wing and prayer of protection?