Vanessa’s alarm went at 5:45am. She’d been asleep for almost five hours. Not bad. She tied her robe shut and went downstairs to make breakfast for the kids. Today was the first day of school.
She made three identical lunches in three identical paper bags. She lined them up alongside the three new backpacks. She cracked six eggs into a mixing bowl and lined six sausage links up in the frying pan. An alarm went off upstairs. She beat the eggs until they were uniform. The youngest ran downstairs, already dressed, carrying her baby blanket and brimming with excitement. The oldest followed shortly after, a bit more sluggish. Vanessa poured three identical glasses of milk and put them on the table. “Is your sister up?” she asked. The oldest assured Vanessa that her sister was, indeed, up. She came downstairs just as Vanessa was putting three identical plates of sausage and eggs down on the table.
The kids gulped down their breakfasts, grabbed their backpacks and lunch bags and ran outside to wait for their bus. Vanessa had to call them back for rushed goodbye kisses and reluctant first day photos. She went inside to watch them from the window until the bus pulled away from the stop.
Vanessa stepped into the kitchen and examined the remaining evidence of breakfast. She poured herself a glass of orange juice and sat down in her eldest daughter’s place. She picked up a neglected sausage link from the plate and bit into it absentmindedly. Her youngest had left her baby blanket draped over the bench when she left.