Kate leaned palms down on the cool surface of the kitchen table. She was ruing the day she’d read the article in the cookbook that had lead to such a disaster. It said, “Children who learn to cook their own meals are taking a significant step towards learning future life skills and a sense of personal accomplishment.”
“It gives your kids a sense of accomplishment eh? It’s necessary for them to learn this for their future lives? If they live that long! After today I have my doubts,” Kate growled quietly since day care kids were sound asleep in the next room.
Kate surveyed the damage. “It looks like a massacre!” She jumped as a glop of bread dough fell from the ceiling fan onto the table. Defeated and exhausted, she slumped into a nearby kitchen chair only to jump up as she felt a cold puddle seep through her jeans.
“Great!” Jacobs diaper had leaked again. She pivoted with the intention of rushing to her room to change when she felt something squishy between her toes. “Oh help!” Determined not to cry out again, she looked down. Oozing between her toes was a lovely shade of blue frosting. Kate wondered how ten precious children of God could make such a catastrophic mess. She grabbed a rag from the counter and wiped her toes. Flour coated the counters and blue fingerprints covered the bottom half of her white cupboards. She would be up for hours scrubbing everything tonight. Kate left to change her clothes and prayed for energy to endure to the end of the day.
When she returned, she heard the front door open quietly. Her son had come home from High School. Was it after two already? Kate checked her watch. “Wow! Time flies when you’re having fun.”
“Hey sweetie, I thought you had diving today. How was your day?
“Fine, diving was cancelled. Didn’t you hear a blizzard is coming?” His wide eyes took in the messy kitchen. “Hold on, did those sawed off runts do all of this?”
“Yep, all ten of them. I should’ve stuck to making bread dough, but I had this grand idea to have a baking class and a service project in one day.”
“Just like when I was little?”
“You remember?” She used a disinfectant wipe on the puddle she’d sat on earlier.
“Mom, you have no idea how much your lessons meant to me when I was little. Kind of made me feel taller, you know like I was super kid because you trusted me with being your helper.”
“My big helper.” Kate mused tossing the wipe into the garbage can. “You were always beside me. I used to call you my…”
“Little baking buddy.” Jon beat her to the punch line grinning.
“I’ll never forget your face in that picture when you baked your first brownies all by yourself” She remembered his toothless grin as he held the brownies out for all to see.
“You never made a mess like this,” Kate groaned.
“There were only six of us when I was little. Did you say something about a service project?”
“Sister Hansen’s on bed-rest again with twins. So I decided to ask the kids to help out. We made a casserole for lunch and doubled the recipe. Then we started on the cinnamon rolls.
“Did you make fry bread out of the dough too? You know that’s my favorite.”
“It’s in the microwave. Help yourself.”
The frustration over the mess paled as she remembered Jon as a little boy. Time passed too quickly these days. Soon he’d be leaving for college. Kate sighed.
Little footmarks crossed the wood floor reminding her of her charges in the other room. She peeked in as the kids were waking up.
Jon startled her. “Hey Mom,” he whispered. “I can deliver the casserole to the Hansen’s house. The storm won’t be here for a while. When I get back I’ll help you with the dishes.”
“It’s pretty cold out there.” She directed a sleepy five-year old to the bathroom.
“Don’t worry I’ll be fine.” Jon disappeared into the kitchen for the casserole.
Kate heard the back door close.
As she entered the kitchen she picked up the cookbook caked with flour. A picture fell from between its pages. Kate flipped it over to reveal Jon, holding his brownies and beaming with toothless confidence. Clasping it to her chest she brushed a tear away and sighed. “What a day!”
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