Our 5-year-old daughter Hadley believes in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. And God.

It’s the last one who rocked me back on my heels.

In this house Santa and his brethren benefit from a hearty promotional blitz. We make every effort to substantiate the existence of chocolate-toting bunnies.

God, however, does not prosper from the same PR boost. He isn’t mentioned in casual conversation and our church attendance is woeful. Every Christmas Eve as we exit the evening service, our church pastor smiles warmly and tells the kids, “My, you’ve grown so much since I saw you last year….” 

A few times my mom’s shuttled the kids to Sunday school. But overall, we’re once-a-year-attendees.

So I was astonished when one day Hadley declared, “I believe in God.”

What? You believe in God?

I didn’t realize that she’d even heard of Him. (Or Her, depending on your belief.)

“I pray to God,” Hadley added.

“Really? You pray to God?”


“Like when?” I asked, a little accusingly. “When do you pray to God?”

“Well, like the other night when Brynn woke up in the middle of the night and wanted a bottle. And you and Dad wouldn’t get it for her.”

I remembered the night. It was 2 am and I told Brynn to go back to sleep.

“Well,” said Hadley, “I got the empty bottle out of Brynn’s crib. And then I prayed to God, ‘Please let there be milk in the door of the fridge where I can get it.’ And I opened the fridge… and God answered my prayers.”

I didn’t know what to say. After a beat, I thought about popping her balloon. I could’ve pointed out that the local dairy — not a higher deity — deserved credit. God didn’t answer her prayers. It was the milkman who delivers three gallons every Friday morning.

But I didn’t say a word.

I let God take the credit.