Abbie smiled to herself as she flipped the small towel over her shoulder, listening to the insistent sound of small toes tapping against the kitchen island behind her. She picked up the plastic plate, and put the sandwich in front of her daughter. "There you are, darlin', one peanut butter and jelly- hold the peanut butter."
She took a moment to watch Dani grin back and reach for the plate. She couldn't deny her daughter, even at four, could have stepped right out of an old Carmichael family photo—all dark hair and eyes and already taller than most of her friends.
Dani took a bite before catching her mother's eyes, and mumbling "thank you." Abbie didn't have the will to correct her, and just smiled and turned around to clean the counter. She knew to enjoy the last few days before she would be back in trial, and even with Taylor still in DC for the week, was determined to make the most of them. Sunlight streamed through the windows of the apartment, and she mindlessly took a bite of the bread crust she'd cut off Dani's sandwich, enjoying the small, contented sounds coming from behind her.
Dani took another too big bite of her sandwich and chewed it very deliberately, thoroughly enjoying the sweetness of the jelly. She couldn't believe that her mommy would just give it to her when it tasted so much like candy and she knew she wasn't supposed to eat candy before dinner. She got jelly on one of her fingers and sucked it into her mouth, trying to get every last bit. She didn't notice the way it was ringing her mouth. "Mommy, am I ever gonna have any brothers or sisters?" Allison's new baby sister had come with her mommy to pick her up from pre-school and it had left Dani wondering.
Abbie paused, the water still running into the sink, and looked over her shoulder at Dani. The question was so easy, pure, and the child had already shifted her attention back to a drop of spilled jelly on her plate before Abbie could come up with an answer. "I don't think so, hun." She shut off the water, and turned around, leaning on the counter, "You're all I could ever want, and then some." And Abbie knew it was the truth, despite what she might have thought she wanted years before. They were lucky- so lucky- to have Dani there and happy, that any other wants seemed so far away now. Abbie stood a moment longer, looking at her daughter, trying to tell if the question was more serious than it seemed. "Why do you ask, sugar?"
"Because then I could play with them when you and mother are busy on the phone." Dani licked the last of the jelly off her hand, though the better part of it was still on her cheek.
Abbie bit back a small pang of guilt at the innocent remark, "Sorry we get busy sometimes, Dani, but the Lord was good enough to give us you, and I think this is the way our family was meant to be." It was a rare moment when Abbie found her quietly but deeply held beliefs come to the surface, but reflecting on life's unanswerable questions tended to coax it out of her. She took a breath and smiled then, "And you know, Dani, if you did have a brother or sister, then you'd have to share your toys with them."
The child seemed to consider this statement for a moment, then shrugged, "Okay." Dani kicked her feet against the counter, forgetting that she wasn't supposed to do that. "Allison has a sister now. And Michael and Tim are twins," she said very matter-of-factly. "That means they were born at the same time."
Abbie smiled, never able to dwell long on much of anything with Dani around, "You're absolutely right Dani." She took the now empty plate away and put it in the sink. "And speaking of Allison, something tells me you wouldn't mind us going to see if she wants to go to the park?"
"Okay, Mommy." Dani smiled brightly, still kicking her feet against the counter.