A Lap to Share

Denise loved Primary nursery. She liked the books, toys, and records. She liked the riding horses, the dishes, and the other boys and girls. She liked to fold her arms and shut her eyes for prayer. She liked to do the “Five Little Monkeys” finger play, and she loved the songs and stories about Jesus.

Snack time was a favorite time. Denise liked finger gelatin and cookies.

Denise liked the walks outside in the spring and summer. She and the other nursery children would hold on to a rope so that they wouldn’t get lost.

What Denise liked best about the Primary nursery, however, was her teacher. Her teacher was her mother! There was one problem, though: Mommy’s lap was hers at home, but in the nursery Denise had to share it.

She had to share Mommy’s lap with Katie, who wanted a story, and with Jesse, who cried for his mommy, and with Greg, who had been pushed down. When it was someone else’s turn for her mommy’s lap, Denise’s lip would quiver, and she would hide her eyes behind her hands. As soon as she could, Mommy would pull Denise close and squeeze her. This helped her feel better, and she decided that it was all right to share her mommy’s lap. After all, she had it all to herself during sacrament meeting and at home.

One day Denise noticed that something was happening to Mommy. Her lap was getting smaller and smaller, and her tummy was getting bigger and bigger. When the children sat on Mommy’s lap in nursery, they couldn’t rest their heads anywhere. Soon there wasn’t room for anyone to sit on Mommy’s lap, not even Denise!

One Sunday Mommy said, “Boys and girls, next week you will have a new teacher because I am going to have a baby soon. I know that your new teacher will love you just as I have.”

The next Sunday Mommy came inside the room with Denise for a few minutes, and Denise peeked around Mommy’s legs at the new teacher. She looked nice. The room looked the same with its bright yellow cupboard and orange toy shelf lined with her favorite toys. The same friends were there too.

“Good morning, Denise,” said the new teacher. “Come and sit on my lap. I have a story to read to you.”

Denise smiled and climbed onto the new teacher’s lap. As she cuddled back against her teacher, she knew that she still liked Primary nursery. She still had a lap to share. And when her new brother or sister came, she would be glad to share Mommy’s lap again!

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young