The children were wanting to help with making breakfast, as Warner got ready for work. Clay oversaw toast making with extreme care of not touching the inside of the toaster while inserting the bread into the four slots and pushing down the handles as he impatiently waited for it to pop back up. Clay is small enough to sit crossed-legged upon the counter top as he diligently waited for the magical moment of the singed bread to reappear as he was armed and prepared to carry out his mission with a butter knife in one hand and a slab of soft butter within his reach. Beth was crying because she wanted a job, so Victoria put her in charge of washing the plastic cups which Beth eventually used as the support for building her soapy castle in the dishwater sink, and eventually the castle prompted her to be the king of her castle by placing suds on her face for a sudsy beard.
Just as Clay had one the piece of toast slathered with butter, Warner came through pouring his to go coffee mug with coffee, grabbed the piece of toast that Clay had buttered, quickly pecked each one on the forehead and rushed out the front door with a coffee mug in one hand, a briefcase in the other hand, and a piece of toast hanging from his mouth.
Today was going to be the first day for Paula and her sister to come and watch the children. Victoria had her book, journal, blanket, and cell phone set in a tidy pile to spend her morning under the comfort of her tree with just the sounds of the wind blowing and the birds chirping. Victoria noticed how dry and unkept her fingernails were as she grabbed Beth from splashing water to place her into her highchair. Before motherhood, she would go to a manicurist every other week, now she barely keeps them clipped.
The front door bell rang. Victoria grabbed Clay off the counter, and placed the cut-up pieces of toast onto Beth’s tray plus Victoria double checked to see if Beth was secured in her highchair with the safety belt before leaving the kitchen to walk to the front door.
Victoria swung the front door open to see Paula with her enthusiastic smile, and an even younger version of Paula standing beside Paula.
“Victoria, I would like to introduce you to my kid sister, Jessie.”
Clay went running up to Paula and reached up for her. Paula scooped him up, and she said, “how’s is our little soldier today?”
Clay held up his index finger and pointed to a small red spot and Paula asked with the tenderness of a mother, “did you get a boo-boo? Here let me kiss it and make it feel better.”
Clay kinked his neck when Paula ran her finger around his neck to make him giggle.
Victoria stepped back while swaying her arm backwards through the wind as if opening an invisible door, ‘please won’t you come in, Beth is in her high chair in the kitchen eating her breakfast.”
Jessie squealed. “Little girls, I adored little girls.”
As they entered the kitchen, Jessie’s enthusiasm caught Beth’s attention as she smiled looking over her shoulder to her mother for affirmation that it was okay. Jessie squatted in front of Beth’s high chair. Beth’s hands wet with squished up toast shoved a piece towards Jessie’s mouth and Beth giggled when Jessie opened her mouth wide to receive Beth’s gift.
Victoria tried to step in, “Jessie you do not have to eat wet, squishy toast. You have the job.”
Paula danced a little dance with Clay in her arms, singing, “thank you Momma, thank you so much, thank you Momma, we love you so much.”
Everyone giggled at the silliness.