My friend Allyx McGinnis and I have known each other a long time. We’re in the same Primary class at church and in the same class at school. We love to ride our bikes, listen to music, and dance. We play house and dress up. We like to watch videos and eat yummy treats.
This year is a special year, because I will turn eight in February and Allyx will turn eight in September and that means we will be old enough to be baptized. We are so excited!
This last year, Allyx has had a lot going on. She has a brain tumor. Most of the time, her hand and voice shake because of the tumor. Sometimes she has to go to the hospital for chemotherapy treatments. They make her feel weak and tired. When she feels better, we play again.
When Allyx has to be in the hospital, my mom and dad take me to see her. We have fun visiting her there, but I like it better when she gets to come home.
My mom and dad have been teaching me that when I am baptized, it doesn’t just mean that I’m a member of Jesus Christ’s church. It also means that I make special promises with Heavenly Father and Jesus. Some of them are that I am willing to bear another’s burdens that they may be light, to mourn with those who mourn, and to comfort those who stand in need of comfort. To me that means that when Allyx isn’t feeling well, I can still go sit with her and watch a video with her and keep her company. When she has to have her chemotherapy, I can pray for her and ask Heavenly Father to watch over her.
In Primary last year, every child, teacher, and leader brought a square piece of material and wrote his or her name on it. Sister Smith sewed them all together and made a beautiful quilt for Allyx to wrap herself in whenever she gets cold or needs to feel wrapped in love. Mostly Allyx and I just play together and have fun. We forget that she even has a brain tumor. Those are the best times.
Be a Friend
My first-grade teacher at Beaumont Elementary School in Knoxville, Tennessee, was Miss Ready. At the beginning of the school year, she asked me to sit beside and help a blind boy named Josh. At first, I was a little nervous because I had never been around anyone with a disability before. I tried to remember how kind and loving Jesus was to all people. By the end of the year, Josh and I had become best friends.
Josh lives with his grandmother and rarely gets to go anywhere, so I invited him to the zoo. We had a lot of fun feeding the animals and stuff. I also took Josh swimming in the pool where my mom works in the summer. He’d never been to a pool before. In the spring, I invited Josh to go with us to sing for a senior citizens center. It was our Primary’s Easter service project. Josh made lots of new friends. We sang for the seniors, and then we went back to the church and had an Easter egg hunt and played games.
One of my mom’s favorite memories is of when she brought cupcakes to share with my class on my birthday. Josh was with his special education teacher in another classroom down the hall and around the corner. Miss Ready asked me to go get him. I was so excited that I told Josh, “Let’s run!” With Josh holding my arm, we ran for all we were worth. When we got to the classroom, we were out of breath, and Josh said, “That was so much fun! Can we do it again?” I realized then that Josh never gets to run.
Josh’s teacher came huffing and puffing into the room, her eyes big and round from fright. She calmed down when she saw that Josh was OK and that I had been careful and hadn’t bumped him into anything as we ran.
During a field trip toward the end of our first-grade year, Miss Ready separated Josh and me and put me into another group. She told my mom that she hadn’t realized until then how isolated I had been, taking care of Josh all year and that she felt bad about it. But both Mom and I feel that it was a very rewarding year.
I have gone on to second grade now. Josh stayed back in first grade. I miss him a lot, but every couple of days or so we talk on the phone. I’m going to invite him back to church with me and pray that his grandma will let him come. I know that Heavenly Father loves Josh, and I pray that he will find someone else in his class to care for him with love and kindness. In the meantime, I’ll find someone in my second-grade class who needs a friend, because I’m trying to be like Jesus.