“Where’s Cyndi? Is she going to make it tonight?” Susan asked Jenna as Iris and Jonita set out the ingredients on the kitchen counter.
“She called to say she’d be a little late.”
The four women shared a smile between them.
“Yeah, I know,” Jenna nodded. “But tonight she’s waiting for Doug to get home to watch the kids.”
“So, tell me, what is it that we’re making again?” Iris coated the inside of the custard cups with butter.
Jenna handed her the recipe. “Hot lava cakes. Individual cakes filled with hot molten chocolate and served with cappuccino ice cream.”
“Ummm.” Their voices vibrated throughout the kitchen.
Susan measured the flour and tossed it into the bowl. “We cook and clean most every day of our lives. Why is it on girl’s night out that we’re in the kitchen? Are we nuts?”
“Yeah, but we always have fun!” Iris sprinkled flour into each of the cups.
Jonita rummaged through the ingredients. “Where’s the chocolate?”
“Cyndi’s bringing it.” Jenna pulled the dessert plates from the cabinet.
Iris read over the recipe. “It looks like we’ve done all we can until the chocolate gets here.”
At the sound of the doorbell, Jenna headed to the door but then called back towards the kitchen. “Did you all remember that I invited our new neighbor to join us tonight?”
A collective “yes” resounded behind her.
Jenna showed Lynn to the kitchen. “Ladies, I’d like you to meet Lynn.”
Everyone introduced themselves.
Susan recognized her. “We’ve met before. Don’t you work at the bank?”
“Yes, I believe I’ve met both you and your husband. You’re an attorney, aren’t you?”
“No. My husband’s the attorney. I don’t work.”
Jenna piped in, “Actually, Susan works harder than most people I know. What she meant to say is that she’s a stay-at-home mom.”
“Did you ever notice that moms say that a lot?” Jonita asked.
Iris looked confused. “What? That they don’t work?”
“It’s true,” Jenna said. “In the work that I do at the hospital with expectant moms, I often ask them if they’ll be going back to work outside the home after the baby is born. Those who are not, will often say, ‘I’m not going to work. I’m going to stay at home with my baby.’”
Iris shrugged. “Well, if they think they won’t be working, they’re in for a big surprise.”
“Many have no idea how much work it is,” Jenna agreed. “I always tell them that being a mom is one of the hardest jobs they’ll ever love.”
“Personally, I think we ought to change the title from stay-at-home mom to work-at-home mom.” Jonita raised her hand. “Anyone want to second that motion?”
Jenna grinned at her friend. “When I stayed home with my kids, my husband used to tell people that I was a ‘home and family manager.’ Most didn’t pick up on the more descriptive term for homemaker. Sometimes he would add, ‘She makes a good living at it too! Every bit as much as I do.’”
“Sounds like something Jay would say,” Susan chuckled.
“Being a mom is hard work.” Jonita’s voice suddenly sounded fatigued. “The other day my baby must have screamed in my ear for an hour straight. By the time I finally got her calmed down and asleep I was exhausted. I had to wonder, ‘What was I thinking becoming a mother? I don’t know what I’m doing!’”
They all nodded in empathy.
Jonita continued, “Two hours later when she hadn’t woke up from her nap, I found myself hoping she would wake up soon. I tiptoed into her room and stood at the side of her crib. Looking down at her, I swear I could see a halo floating above my little angel’s head. Now, I’m thinking, ‘I wish I could have a dozen of them.’”
Everyone laughed. Jenna hurried to the door at the ring of the doorbell.
“Hello, ladies. Sorry I’m late,” Cyndi apologized. “But I brought chocolate!”
Susan teased, “Well, since you brought chocolate we’ll forgive you.”
“What did I miss?”
“We were just talking about the work that we do,” Iris filled her in.
“Well, that leaves me out.” Cyndi turned towards Lynn and reached out her hand. “Hi, I’m Cyndi. I don’t work. I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
The women couldn’t help themselves. Once they started laughing, they couldn’t stop.
Cyndi’s expression went from confused to amused. “Are you sure I didn’t miss something else?”
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