Last Wednesday Brandon had a reception to attend. Every time he has something after hours for work, I thank my stars that he didn't decide to go into public diplomacy because instead of being gone two or three times a month he would be gone two or three times a week.
When he has these things he doesn't get home before 9:30 and so I'm on my own for the night. Usually I take the opportunity to fix dinner early since we're not waiting for the theoretical slim possibility that Brandon might actually make it home for some part of dinner. And since dinner is early then everyone can go to bed early and that leaves me with several long, free, quiet hours of time alone. Sometimes I'll work on a project, sometimes I'll read a book, and sometimes I'll just revel in having hours to mindlessly waste on the internet. It makes up for having to feed everyone dinner and put them to bed without any help.
Wednesday I was quite responsible and had dinner ready at 5:15 and finished by 5:45. All I had left was scriptures, pajamas, and the rest of the night would be mine all mine. What should I do? Start a new book? Make cookies? Start a book and eat cookies? Whatever it was it should definitely include warm, buttery chocolate chip cookies. I just have to get the children to bed and then it will be cookie time. All alone. By myself. With nobody to keep me company. Or to keep me from eating all of the cookies
I turned to the girls. "Here's a deal for you. If you help me clean up the dishes, we can make chocolate chip cookies afterwards."
Their faces lit up. "Yes!" they both nearly shouted back, "We'd love to help you with the dishes!"
I told them to start while I went upstairs to put Joseph to bed. Two year-olds that can't behave themselves after 6:30 are not welcome at chocolate chip cookie parties.
When I made it back down after diaper, teeth brushing, story, tickling, and kisses, the girls were busily clearing the table and loading up the dishwasher. Sophia asked if she could wash the dishes and I told her to be my guest. Edwin, who had set the table for me while his sisters were out playing earlier, read books while listening to Bing sing about white Christmases. I stood still for five seconds and enjoyed the pleasure of a happy house.
Pretty soon we had finished and I started on my end of the bargain, mixing up a recipe that I have had memorized before any of the children thought of coming into existence. The oven preheated and I sprayed the pan while Sophia got the spoons for carving out mounds of chip spotted dough to drop in neat lines. Edwin pretended to help while he snuck cookie dough.
The pan went into the oven and we wiped down the table to sit at for scripture time. After Jared had begat Orihah who begat Kib who begat Shule who begat Omer who had begat Emer and he begat someone who begat someone else, the timer beeped and the cookies were perfectly done. We wolfed them down with cold glasses of milk and Katheen, Sophia, and Edwin headed upstairs for toothbrushing, pajamas, and hand washing while I finished with the last few things in the kitchen and turned off the Christmas tree and music for the night.
After prayers, a story, and kisses it was time for bed. As she wrapped her arms around my neck for a hug, Sophia smiled at me, "Thanks for the cookies tonight, Mom. That was fun." I smiled back as I kissed her. "Yes, it was fun."
Then I went upstairs and ordered myself some new clothes and jewelry. After all, what's the fun of the cat being gone if all the mice can't play?