It's Saturday morning at 7am. And I am working.
This isn't all that unusual, especially lately. I have a lot of projects. And thank God for that, especially in this economy. I like to stay busy. Busy keeps the fear away. Besides, I love to work. Love it. I get that from my dad.
I'm aware, just barely, of the Boy Child lingering behind me.
"Can I have some breakfast? I'm so hungry!"
A stall tactic, probably. He's been up for at least an hour and isn't hungry until suddenly it's time to clean his room. But of course he can eat. No growling bellies in my house. I get that from my mom.
"What can I have? Can I make some eggs?"
He loves to cook, that boy of mine. Time is short, though. He doesn't get to cook very often. He's twelve now, in seventh grade. So many activities, so much to do. He's busy. He gets that from me.
I'll cook the eggs. It's decided. Toast too.
I'm not good at eggs. They are the simplest thing in the world, I suppose, but I'm just not good at them for some reason. Cracking, fine. I can stir with the best of them. But they always, always stick to the pan.
It frustrates me. I don't like eggs since I went to 4-H camp the summer between 5th and 6th grade. The silver metal pans with eggs swimming in water and grease haunted me that summer. The smells of the kitchen made me gag. I've never forgotten that. Sticking to the pan is just an added annoyance.
But the Boy and the Girl love scrambled eggs. So I make scrambled eggs.
They are the best eggs the Boy Child has ever eaten. He thinks we should open a restaurant and I can cook while he and the Girl are the waiters. Their exuberance over something so simple lets me forget, for a minute, that they are almost thirteen years old. That in just a few years, they will be adults. That they won't always live here with me, in this little brown house with the early September sun streaming through the windows.
Something catches in my throat and I can't speak for a moment. They don't notice though. They are too busy talking. They get that from me too.
I move to laundry. Laundry is easy to do while you are working. Throw a load, eventually remember to throw it in the dryer, and listen for the buzz. The biscuits are done. Pause your work and take them out before they wrinkle.
While I throw them in, I notice the shower curtain is open. My son has 1/2 bottle of bodywash. It smells like any high school in America. My daughter has a bottle of strawberry shampoo. Her body wash bottle is empty and in the trash.
I go to my bathroom and get her one of mine. I have at least five. Jason thought it was weird, at first, when I started bringing home mass quantities of things like soap and laundry detergent and rice. There's always enough, though. Use it up and reach for another. The simplicity of that keeps the fear away too.
"I noticed you were out of bodywash," I tell the Girl, sticking my head just inside her room. "I put a new one in your shower."
She is curled along her bed, reading. Her face reflects the genuine pleasure of the gift. Such a small, tiny thing. But she appreciates it. Appreciates that the special things can be for both of us.
"Thank you mom," she says. Those dimples. Those eyes.
I wonder again what it must be like to be my daughter or my son. To know, without any doubt, that you are so loved. You are respected. You will have what you need. You never, ever have to keep the fear away.
Time is short. Time is just so very short.
Make your babies some scrambled eggs.