The year Jane was 4 was one of the best years of my life simply because Jane announced nearly every day, “This is the BEST day of my life!” It didn’t take much to make it the best day–a trip to the pool, a slurpee from 7-11, or a new set of markers. One of her favorite activities that year was drawing and coloring princesses, complete with tiaras, long eyelashes, and high heels. She loved to color while I made dinner.
One particular afternoon, I wrestled an oven-stuffer chicken in the sink. I washed it and reached inside to remove the neck, gizzard, heart, and whatever a giblet is. I held it by the legs under the running water, filling up the cavity with water and dumping it out. Over and over, filling it up and dumping it out. The water ran cold as I removed the last of the innards.
The chicken was almost ready to stuff. Jane was kneeling on the kitchen chair at the table working hard on a princess. After several minutes of working on our separate tasks, Jane said matter-of-factly, “I don’t know about you mom, but I sure do feel bad for that chicken.” She never looked up or stopped coloring but her four-year old compassion touched me. I have not made a chicken since without remembering that day. It was one of the BEST days of my life.