Ah. President's Day. A day off from work and school.
Bing gets up early to take my car in for an oil change. (If you get there between 8-9, it is very cheap.)
Liv and I meet in the kitchen in our pajamas and warm robes. The snow outside makes us want something warm for breakfast.
Scrambled eggs? I suggest.
She shakes her head, thinking.
We both agree that we don't feel like pancakes either.
Liv's face lights up.
"How about Scottish porridge?" she asks.
I nod, smiling. Perfect.
I pour the oats into the pan and toast them up good. Add water, boil. Let them simmer for several minutes, stirring to get the lumps out. Both of us hate lumpy porridge.
Liv assembles the brown sugar and apple slices. The raisins.
I add cream to the oatmeal, carefully. Too much will make it watery. Too little will make it grayish and bland.
It is finished. I warm our bowls in the oven and then plop the porridge inside, pouring more cream over the top and adding teaspoons of brown sugar to the top while Liv sprinkles raisins and arranges apple slices, just so.
We sit on kitchen chairs, looking oddly alike as we both tuck a leg under ourselves and tuck in.
It feels good to take a long slow bite of porridge and feel it melt into our mouths while we look outside at the snow in the back yard, the rabbit tracks all over.
"It's hard to believe that in a few months, the garden will be there," I say, sliding my spoon around an apple slice.
"February is a good month for porridge," Liv adds. "When it is July, we will eat bowls of raspberries on the back steps."
"Mama?" Liv asks, her spoon making a round mark in her porridge. She likes to make indentations in the porridge and watch them fill up with cream.
"Do you think I will marry one day?"
I think for a moment.
"Yes, probably. Most people do."
"Do you think I will have children?"
"I hope so. I think you might enjoy the experience. I know I have..."
Liv looks down at her bowl. "Have you ever wished that I wasn't born?"
I am shocked for a moment and then quickly sputter, "NO! NEVER. God, you are so loved, Liv. Nobody sits quite in my heart the way that you do. I can't even imagine a life without you. Why on earth would you ask such a thing?"
Liv stirs her porridge. "Because I forgot to make you a valentine this year. I made one for my teacher, but I forgot you. You remembered me and I forgot you."
I scootch my chair close to her. It isn't close enough, so I just pull her bony self into my lap. Kiss her once. Twice. On her cheek.
"I don't need a card, Liv. Jesus...I mean, geez. I only need you. Forget about the stupid card, okay? Just promise me that when I am old and gray, you will make me porridge."
"I will!" she promises, fervently. And wraps her arms around my neck. We stay that way for a long moment and then she gently slides off of my lap and goes back to her chair. We go back to our porridge.
"I think the sun might come out today," I tell her.
"Yeah, maybe," she answers, looking out into the yard.
"But, if it doesn't, know that you are my sunshine, okay?" I tell her.
She smiles shyly into her porridge. "Okay...and you are my moon, okay?"
"Okay," I smile.
We eat silently for a while.
"Mama?" she asks again.
I look up, prepared this time.
"Are vampires real?"
Oh boy...here we go.