The Chickens

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We were outside yesterday in the communal backyard when Ever started singing to Janna.

And her face was so cute, all scrunched up searching for the melody and making up the words, the delight and joy I felt looking at her made me laugh.

Then she stopped singing.

"You laughed at her, now she won't sing anymore." Janna said to me.

"Yes, she'll sing," I responded.

I looked at Ever who leaned against Janna's legs on the camper shell top in the field. She was squinting and blinking, the sun on her face from the side.

"Sing Ever, sing some more for us." I begged.

But Janna was right, she turned towards the chickens pecking around by the swing set and left me there to question my acts of motherhood.

I'm sorry Ever. I'm sorry I laughed.

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Erin is a dear. She likes to check on her father who moves slowly with back pain these days. She coddles him and pats him like a good old dog.

When daddy's back went out all the children fell fast into nurturing. Bringing him drinks and giving him slight hugs.

"You need a drink of water Daddy?" Anson will ask. And retrieve.

(Note: when I'm sick they become more needy.)

And Erin has this face she makes when she's concerned. She purses her pink lips into a circle, like she's sucking a Cheerio. All day long she looks at her dad and makes the Cheerio face.

Poor daddy. Lucky daddy.

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But Anson defies me by growing. I ask him kindly to stop.

I told him eating spicy food would make his muscles grow.

"Then I'm gonna eat a whole bunch of spicy food and lift our house off the ground."

And he's been eating spicy ever since. Tacos, masala, spiced rice and beans.

The growing boy is good to his word.

And his skin is still the silkiest surface.

Please don't let the spices (and the muscles) take that away.

And I'm just trying to be good enough for them. I'm trying to share their expressions, remind them to wash their hands and let them grow. I'm trying to understand how I feel about what's going on--from the communal backyard to the Capital of our country. I am trying to let them reveal their true selves to me without my control.

But first, I've got to stop laughing when they sing.

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