"Mom!” My daughter—then four—calls to me from her bedroom. Quickly, I place four eggs in a pot of water, turn the burner on high, and head down the hall.
In her room, Anna sits propped up on a pile of pillows, looking sleepy. Yellow sun stretches across the bed in long narrow strips. Nap time.
"What's up?" I ask her.
"You read me a story?"
"Okay, but just one; Mommy's boiling eggs for tuna fish.”
She nods. Together, we nestle down between the cool sheets and share the travails of Timothy Tiger and his terrible toothache. Halfway through the book, Anna's eyes droop, she yawns, slipping further down into the covers. In minutes, she's napping peacefully.
I lay the book aside and curl up next to her, eggs forgotten.
About an hour later, I am awakened by a putrid smell. In the kitchen, sitting atop a bright red burner, a dry pot smokes profusely. And, to my complete horror, the eggs are no longer in the pot but have exploded!
Everywhere I look pieces of sooty egg lay scattered about. There is egg on the floor; egg on the cabinets, egg on the ceiling, egg on the countertops. There is even egg in the adjacent room! What an awful, disgusting mess!
Muttering, I reach for a broom and begin swiping at the splotches on the ceiling, then decide to crawl on top of the counter to get a better aim. It is while I work and moan that Anna rounds the corner, holding her nose.
"Yuck! What’s that I smell?" she asks, then upon seeing me standing on the counter high above her, she gasps, "Mom, what on earf happened?"
With as little enthusiasm as possible, I relate the entire story ending with, "Just look at this mess! I am just sick!” My voice rises with hysteria.
Her answer shocks me. "Well—you oughta be happy," she scolds, her little face solemn and stiff.
I glare down at her, speechless. Happy? Did she say happy?
"It coulda burned our house all down. Couldn't it, Mama?” she says, her brown eyes piercing mine like chocolate daggers. "And it coulda burned us up too! Couldn't it, Mama? And that would make Daddy so sad. Wouldn't it, Mama?"
Climbing down from the counter, I set my broom aside and stoop down to put my arms around her, wondering how on earth I ever got along without such wisdom. Cupping her round face in my hands, her expression softens. "You are so right, my sweet angel," I say, feeling small and foolish. "You are one-hundred-percent right. I should be happy."
Backing up a step, she puts her hands on her hips. She isn’t done with me. "And you oughta tell God you're sorry for being so upset," she says, her little face stern again.
Quickly, I do as I am told. It is, after all, November, a time for giving thanks. And this child of mine has just made me realize how blessed I am—even with burnt eggs all over the place.
This story appears in the book, Whispers From Heaven (Pacific Press), by Dayle Allen Shockley. All rights reserved.