"Who gave me this book?"
My hands were wrapped up in sticky dough as I worked some butter into a batch of soon-to-be wheat bread. I was watching the soft pocket of butter slowly smoosh itself out into the dough, being careful not to under-mix or over-knead or any of the other hundred mistakes that can destroy the fragile balance of a good rise. I had heard the sound of her talking but not the words, so, as two year olds are prone to do, she repeated herself until I responded.
"Who gave me this book?" she asked again.
I pushed my bangs back with the inside of my elbow and tried not to touch anything as I glanced over my shoulder. Honestly, I didn't know who gave her that book. "Nona or Grammy," I told her, assuming one of them was probably right. She was satisfied. Or at least, satisfied for the moment.
We readied ourselves to go play in the yard while the bread had its first rise in the warm little kitchen. "Get some shoes on, girl," I hollered playfully as she pushed open the screen door in bare feet. She tossed Isa carelessly onto the wood floor and struggled with the tiny straps on her tiny flip flops until finally asking for help. I sat down and returned the shoes to their correct foot.
"Where did these come from?" she asked. I had bought them at the Rhea Lana consignment event a few months back. "Umm..." I thought for a minute and concentrated on getting her pinky toe inside the shoe, "a store."
"Yeah, a big store with lots of thing for little girls and boys. Mommy bought them there," I said with a fleeting thought of why parents always refer to ourselves in the 3rd person.
"Oh," she said simply, and grabbed Isa by the foot. They pushed their way back out the screen door, the little doll hanging upside down with her dress falling up over her head.
Later, we sat together at the big kitchen table to enjoy that rewarding moment of a fresh slice of bread, still warm from the oven. I spread a fat glob of butter onto both slices and poured a glass of milk for us both to share. "Who gave me this bread?" she asked with her mouth full.
"I did," I beamed.
"You bought it at the store?"
"Nope, I made it myself!" (There may be many things about her childhood that she never fully appreciates, but the fact that she gets homemade bread and butter with fresh milk from a farm will not be one of them.) "Mommy made it for you," I said again, "With these hands!" I cheesily held my hands up proudly before her.
She was unimpressed.
I thought for a moment about her new little habit with this question, always wondering where things come from and who is behind them. We so rarely ask those kind of questions as adults. We take so much for granted.
Who gave me this bread? I made it with my own two hands. Who gave you those hands?
Who gave me this book? Nona or Grammy. Who gave you this family?
Who gave us those trees? Well, there now, that's an easy one.
The question can always go deeper, and in the end, there's usually a Giver that goes unnoticed.
So much of our simple life these days rests solely in the outstretched hand of God's goodness, and yet we live just on the surface of thankfulness, just on the edge of being aware of our complete dependence on Him.
Sometimes it's easy... sometimes my husband gets an awesome internship and we celebrate with friends and family. Sometimes its harder... sometimes I learn we'll have to pay for nine cavities and root canal with no insurance and I cry into my steering wheel outside the dentist's office.
But honestly, honestly, I'm realizing that God has given us this season of life. This season of simplicity and "poverty" and dependence. He has given it to us. We are usually only thankful for the shiny, happy parts, but there is such a profound goodness in every bit of it. For the most part, we don't have to dig too deep in questioning our lives before we get straight to the source. We are living really close to that outstretched hand and that's a blessing no matter how you look at it.
"Mommy?" she mumbled again with a full mouth.
I snapped back into consciousness. "What, girl?"
"Thank you for bread."
I smiled, feeling deeply her sweet, simple thanks. "You're welcome, sweetheart."
It was almost dinner-time, but I cut her another slice.