He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names. (Psalm 147:4 ESV)
Truth be told she had more babies than she could count. As many as the stars in the sky, as they say. Or was it grains of sand on the shore? She could never remember which metaphor was more apt. But either way she had a lot of babies. And the babies had more fathers than she cared to recall.
She had a father once. But he was never the daddy she wanted. She wanted a daddy, who would carry her on his shoulders. A daddy who kissed her mommy ever day after work. A daddy who would give her a baby sister or baby brother. But no, she was his one and only child. A child he hardly knew existed. She could be a stray cat for all he knew. A little kitten mewing for attention, which he ignored or on a really good night kicked to her bedroom because he couldn’t stand her. Or so she thought.
Her mother was a stout woman, who scrubbed their wooden floors on her knees every Saturday morning, pulling out the chairs from the kitchen and corralling them with the couch and end tables. She would push all the furniture from one side of the room to the other to do the floors in sections. She never did clean under the TV console, too heavy to move.
The house was a two bedroom cottage with an eat-in kitchen, a living room and a full bath with an old claw-footed tub. Out back on a small enclosed porch was the mother’s prized possession, an electric wringer washer. Clothes were dried on the collapsible drying lines on a pole in the backyard. Summer or winter, didn’t matter, her mother hung the clothes outside. Her mother was quite proud of her washing machine. It was the only automated machine in the house besides the console TV, and the kitchen appliances, of course.
The little girl liked Saturdays. It was a day that she imagined the chairs were a long train taking her far into the countryside. She ignored the living room furniture, those pieces weren’t going anywhere except back and forth across the cramped living space. Her mother’s chess pieces that she moved about the room each Saturday. Never once did her mother rearrange the furniture, when she was done cleaning. Back each piece would go to its resting place on her chess board floor.
The little girl would gather her doll baby into her arms, and climb aboard the train. “All Aboard!” she would call quietly to herself and the baby. She would hold the baby close cooing to her with endearing words: “Your momma’s little tweety bird, aren’t you?” “Such a sweetie pie.” “You are the cutest little bug, a momma could want.” “Dontcha ever forget who you are my plum pudding girl.” “Your momma won’t ever forget you; no she won’t, no she won’t.” And the girl would giggle and the doll would stare blankly at her. But the girl didn’t care, they were going to see the world. She was going to leave the little country cottage and live in a big city.
On Saturday nights, her mother and father went out. The neighbor lady came over and snored on the couch while the TV played reruns of “I Love Lucy.” The girl crept out the back door with her doll baby in tow, she’d lie down under the empty clothes line and stare at the stars. “Too many to count,” she whispered to her baby. “One day I’m going to have more babies than the stars,” she declared to the attentive night sky.
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