One Saturday morning Mom was busy in the kitchen when I came downstairs. The sun was peeping up above the horizon and shining in our east windows. The field, between our home and the church, showed promising signs of melting the remaining snow.
But to the west the woods, which followed the creek past our house, were still crisply coated in snow.
“Good morning, Kate.” Mom greeted, as I entered the cozy kitchen. “Hey, do you want to bake cookies when Ann gets up? I thought it might be fun and we could take some to Aunt Jenny.”
“Yes!” I cheered. “I’d love to.”
I was standing by the electric heater enjoying a bowl of marshmallows and toasted flakes when Ann came in.
“Mom, is de baby hewe yet!?” She squealed excitedly. Our aunt Jenny had been expecting a baby FOREVER and my three year old sister could hardly wait! The baby, she reasoned, had to get there someday! If only it would just hurry up!
“No. Not yet. I wouldn’t worry too much.” Mom was saying. “It’ll be another few weeks . . . oh that reminds me! I need to call Jenny to make sure she’s alright . . . I . . . “ Mom’s voice trailed of as she looked toward the phone then laughed. “I’ll wait and call her later. After all we don’t need to worry! Come on, let’s make cookies!”
“Is da baby in Heaven?” Ann wondered. By then she had bounced up to stand beside me at the heater.
“No, Ann. It’s in Aunt Jenny’s tummy, remember, I told you that.” Mom explained.
“Yah. But how did it get dere? Whewe was it befowe? Was it in Heaven?” Ann persisted.
Her mother thought a moment. “I suppose.” She began. “Maybe it was in Heaven. I don’t know where it was. But pretty soon God will send it to us and Aunt Jenny will get it and then we all can see it!”
“Oh, will it come in the mail!?” Ann cheered.
“No.” Mom laughed. “Not quite! Don’t worry, Ann. Aunt Jenny will take care of getting it ok?”
“Yah, ok.” Ann at last was content with that. “What cookies are we making? Oh! Will dere be cookies in Heaven!?”
“We are making chocolate chip and monster cookies!” I crowed in answer.
“Yay!” Ann squealed. “I hope dose kinds awe in Heaven!”
“I’m sure they have to be!” Mom laughed.
Together we got out the tools. Ann grabbed up all four of our cookie pans and I took the recipe, that only Mom could read, and set it on the island for Mom to move to wherever she wanted. And as soon as the ingredients were out we got to work!
An hour and a half later two cookie pans were in the oven and Ann and I were placing dough balls into a large, plastic bag. It was nine o’clock so Mom decided to call Aunt Jenny. She headed to her room to sit down and talk, while Ann and I chattered cheerily. Ann was explaining to me all her ideas of Heaven when the door bell rang. Her attention jerked up to the sound of the door bell.
What did it mean!? She knew immediately knew!
Ann flew to the door, grasped the handle, and yanking it open she cried, “Welcome baby we’ve been expecting ou!!”
I heard no sound after Ann’s loud proclamation and hurried after her to find out what had happened! I dashed up beside my sister and saw who Ann had greeted so passionately. The UPS man stood at the door. He held a box in his left hand and Ann was frozen starring at him!
“Oh.” I had no idea what to say!
The man starred at us both. He was apparently processing the scene. All at once he got an odd look, almost as if he was going to laugh! Mom came in then, having noticed the absolute silence that had surprisingly filled her house.
“Oh hello . . . . What is it?” She broke off her greeting at the sight of us two bewildered girls, and even more bewildered delivery man, who looked about to laugh.
The man sneezed. (A rather fake sneeze.)
”Oh! I’m sorry . . . it’s just, (achoo) it’s just that’s . . . the first time a girl has ever called me baby before!” We could all tell he was trying to hide laughter that was brimming up inside him.
“Oh!” Mom smiled politely and took the box from his hand, looking very confused. Then she closed the door so the chortling delivery man could laugh in peace, which he did all the way back to his truck!
“What did you do?!” Mom questioned both Ann and me. The phone was still in her hand and Aunt Jenny could hear everything.
“Mom, quick! Open the box! The baby!” Ann exclaimed.
“What?” Mom laughed. “Ann, the baby’s not in here.”
“It might be!”
“We can open it but I doubt it is. But what did you say?” By that time Mom thought she had a guess.
“She said, ‘Welcome baby we’ve been expecting you!’ ” I announced, as Mom unconsciously laid the phone on the island.
“Oh my!” Mom laughed. “Ann, that’s great!”
“But ou said God would send de baby to us.” Ann explained.
“I meant to Aunt Jenny. And when she gets the baby we can all see it!” Mom laughed. “Sorry sweetie, it’s not going to come in the mail!”
“Maybe!” Ann was busily opening the box.
Meanwhile Aunt Jenny was laughing energetically to herself on the other side of the phone.
Oh Ann! She gasped. She’s so funny! What a story the UPS man will have to tell at work when he gets back.
She giggled. I can just imagine him, “Guess what happened today!? As I was driving along in the cold, cloudy morning, shivering from the wind and steering through the fog, I came to a homey little place! Pulling into the lane I saw the brightly chirping windows and two, little girls cooking together like best friends! When I trotted up the side walk, the door flew open and a little girl with sparkling, blue eyes cried, “Welcome baby, we’ve been expecting you!” The smell of cookies drifted lazily out the door and the lights danced merrily! Oh my goodness! She squealed! Only Ann!
By that time Jenny had subconsciously hung up her phone. That’s just too hilarious! She grinned!
“Now what’s in the box?” I asked as Ann pried it open. She tore open the curious item and found it was full of baby clothes!
“Oh!” Ann murmured. “No baby yet, but it’s his cwothes!”
“Her or his.” Mom stated, pulling up a tiny, pink dress. We examined the sweet little blankets, the pjs, skirts, little shorts, and shirts. There was pink and green and a good bit of blue that could be for either boy or girl.
“Awe! Dey all for de baby?” Ann wondered.
Her eyes were bright with excitement and she’d already forgotten all about her crazy statement.
“Yes.” Mom nodded. “They are!” The oven beeped just then and Mom started over to get the cookies out to let them cool. “Would you like to take the clothes up to the guest room, please? We need to finish with our cookies!” She told me.
“Sure.” I hurried off on my mission and Mom began to do the rest of the cookie balls while she planned lunch in her head.
Now then! She thought, as she scooped out cookies balls and located then safely in their plastic bag. Where did I put the phone? And did I hang up or is Jenny still waiting?
She searched around a little but didn’t find it. Glancing at the clock that read 10:45, she decided she’d better just keep working. Jenny probably would hang up eventually! Meanwhile, Ann was trotting around the living room pretending to talk into the phone she’d found randomly sitting on the island. When Mom called her, she deposited it in with the rest of her toys and dashed to the table for lunch.