“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
“Me, too. It must be time for lunch.”
My three year old son nodded and scooted around the kitchen on his red kid-propelled Porsche, singing a little made-up song to himself.
“Come here a minute. I want to show you something.”
He rode his car to my side and I bent down and picked him up.
I pointed out the kitchen window at the bird feeder we had hung from the pine tree. “Look at the mother cardinal feeding her baby.”
The mother bird perched lightly on the bird feeder and carefully chose a safflower seed.
“It looks like she’s eating it,” my son commented with a frown.
The baby cardinal waited on the deck railing right next to the feeder. His mom flew over and popped a seed into his open beak.
“Why doesn’t the baby just feed himself from the feeder?”
“Good question. The safflower seed that we put in the feeder has a very hard shell. The baby’s not strong enough to crack the shell to get to the seed, so his mother does it for him. Then she feeds him the seed.”
“Cool.” We watched the mother cardinal feed her baby again.
“How about that spider? Does the mother spider feed her baby like that?”
On the outside of the kitchen window, there was an elaborate spider web. I wasn’t big on washing windows. I was big on science experiments.
“No. The mother spider will make an egg sac that has baby spiders in it. We’ll watch her do that in the fall. Then she’ll die. The babies will hatch later and float away on the wind, looking for someplace to build their own webs.”
“The baby spiders never see their mother?”
“Nope. That’s just the way it is with spiders.”
I put my son back on his car and he zoomed away.
“Do you want peanut butter and jelly or a cheese sandwich?”
I got two small plates out of the cabinet.
I made a cheese sandwich and put it on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plate. My son climbed up onto one of the chairs at the kitchen counter, and I handed him the plate. I started to make my own sandwich.
“I want to make your sandwich,” my son said, impatiently waving his hands at the loaf of bread and the stack of cheese.
“OK.” I pushed the materials and my Cinderella plate over to him.
He carefully placed two pieces of cheese in the exact center of the bread, and then covered them with the second slice of bread. He centered it on the Cinderella plate and, beaming with pride, handed my lunch to me.
“Great job,” I said. “That looks delicious. I didn’t know you knew how to make sandwiches. Do you want some milk?”
He nodded and took a bite of his sandwich. “Mommy?”
I refrained from saying the “don’t talk with your mouth full” line just this once. “Uh huh?”
“People aren’t like spiders or birds, are they?”
“What do you mean?”
“Moms and kids feed each other. We take care of each other.”
Luckily, I was facing away pouring milk into two Tupperware cups. I quickly wiped away the tear and swallowed the lump in my throat.
“That’s right, sweetie. We do take care of each other.”I sat down and took a bite of the sandwich he had made for me. It was the best sandwich I have ever eaten.
Dedicated to PJ