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“Mother,” I heard in my ear. A soft paw batted my cheek. It was 5:25 a.m. It was Sara.
“What!?” I said. I knew this was my child but breakfast was an hour away.
“There’s a new and odiferous plant on the kitchen table.”
“It was there yesterday,” I mumbled. “You liked it then and should like it now.”
My little black one who speaks broken English then chimed in: “Meep!” Scolding me.
It meant the same thing: I knew these girls didn’t like our new tabletop Christmas tree. They’re like me: they like nothing new. But I had to get the tree: we’re two and a half now and need to get acclimated to new items in the home. I for one never like new stuff, but—living in a new generation—I know it’s important to embrace the world.
I was a little apprehensive myself, walking out this morning to see my midget tree. I couldn’t get a word in even for hello or good morning before Sara cocked her ear towards the little tree and said, “You know it’s wrong.”
I hated her then, as one does a little sister spilling the truth. But I loved her, because she only says what I’ve taught her to say.
“Listen,” I said. “This is the best tree I could get us this year. Your sister would have stayed under the bed for weeks if this was a big one. Don’t you cock your head at me. I’m doing the best I can.”
Worlds of not being a real parent whirled in my mind. Laws that I would like to enforce dissipated. All bed-head and scrumpled, feeling the pressure of a new day, I pumped myself up.
I made coffee. I invited the children in. I put out tuna.
“What?” I said, after a polite time of waiting for everyone to come in for everything. “What do you guys want?”
They ran away, but came back in shifts, as children do.