This past week Emma, my seven-year-old, middle child had to have a little outpatient surgery in Jackson, Mississippi. Because we live about two hours away and we needed to be at the hospital at 6am, Zeb and I decided to take her to Jackson the night before to spend the night. The child loves to eat and I knew she wouldn’t make it two hours without food— even if the sun wasn’t up yet.
We took the opportunity to spoil her a little bit, as the middle child, she often gets lost in the chaos of family life. The squeakiest wheel gets the oil, and Emma usually doesn’t make a peep.
Emma doesn’t only love to eat food but she is fairly obsessed with the preparation of it and talking about it. Her favorite television show is “Chopped” on the Food Network, and she spends every second she can, standing beside me in the kitchen when I’m cooking. If we were going “out to eat” with all of our kids Zeb and I wouldn’t waste the money on a decent restaurant, but becuase it was just us and our little foodie, we decided to go have a nice dinner.
Emma scoffed at the children’s menu and crayons placed before her and asked our server for a “real menu.” We ordered and ate, discussing everyone’s dish and passing forks around the table. For dessert, Emma experienced her first creme brulee and actually blocked Zeb out like she was playing defense to get the last few bites for herself.
We headed to our hotel after we ate and got settled in our room. I went to the bathroom to take a quick shower before bed and Emma came in to brush her teeth as I turned on the water and started to undress. As I was about to step into the shower, Zeb opened the bathroom door and Emma flipped out. She jumped in front of him, threw her hands in front of his face and yelled, “HEY!! DON’T COME IN HERE! Momma’s NAKED!”
We have two bathrooms in our house but the whole family tends to congregate in mine and Zeb’s bathroom. It’s not uncommon for someone to be using the restroom while someone else is in the shower, yet another someone is blow drying their hair and two other somebodies are brushing their teeth. I’ve lost count at how many somebodies that actually is but the point remains— Emma and Zeb have been in the same room with me MULTIPLE times while I’ve changed clothes or gotten into or out of the shower and this shouldn’t be such shocking information to her, yet there she stood— stunned.
Zeb backed out of the room and Emma spun on her heels to face me.
“Really???” She asked through a mouthful of toothpaste.
“Honey, of course he has. We share a room, we sleep in the same bed— we’re married.” I explained.
She shook her head, her white blonde eyebrows scrunched together in consternation, “That is so weird.”
I let it go for a bit. After my shower, we all three snuggled in the bed and watched part of a movie. Then as Zeb rolled over to go to sleep Emma whispered, “I wish we had a snack… maybe something chocolate…”
We made eye contact and when I smiled she said, “You thinking what I’m thinking??”
I pulled on a sweatshirt and wrapped Emma’s hot pink robe around her and we headed out into the hotel lobby in our jammies in search of chocolate. “I can’t believe we are doing this!” She said repeatedly.
We scored some Reese Cups to share and once back in our hotel room, with the traditional mother/daughter sacrament of chocolate and peanut butter between us, I brought up her earlier comments.
“Emma, do you remember when we talked about where babies come from?” I asked casually.
“NO!” She said, feigning ignorance. That particular conversation ended when she said, “This is sort of disgusting. Can we talk about something else?”
I cocked my head and raised my eyebrows, “Really?”
She heaved a sigh. “Yes. I do.”
“Well you know me and Daddy have done that, right? I mean, earlier, you kind of flipped out and I just want you to understand…”
“I know. I know… you had to do it three times but it was worth it ‘cause you got us.” She interrupted.
I could barely contain my snickers as I nodded solemnly and we headed to bed, with Emma sleeping right down the middle— our very own DMZ.