“How’re the eggs?” I asked Beta (not her real name), one of my daughters—I have four—and twin to Alpha (not their real names) who’s five minutes older. Beta has a poor opinion of scrambled eggs and preferred fried. But the way—the pace at which—she emptied the bowl, showed she liked them.
“They’re good,” she confirmed.
“I used milk and a little butter, mixed in some shredded cheese and bits of onion.”
She nodded and swallowed the last bite.
“Know what else is in it… the essential ingredient?” I asked knowing she’d follow what I meant. For years, when I’ve cooked for them or the family, during the prep when I had to mix something, I’d do it left-handed. The first time Alpha and Beta asked why I was doing it that way (I’m right-handed) I had told them, ‘It’s the process… because I always add a special ingredient,’ and said nothing else until they asked, ‘What is it?’ I smiled and had them come to the counter where I was mixing. ‘Which arm is closest to your heart?’ They were young then, maybe 8 or 9, and didn’t get what I meant so I put my hand on my heart and told them. ‘The left, so when I cook for you and your mom when I mix things, I put the left elbow of love into the cooking.’ Now, I’m a good, creative cook—though I have had a few experiments fail (even the left elbow of love couldn’t save them)—and when my family comments on the taste, giving their approval, I always look at Alpha and Beta and wink… it was all in the left elbow.
So, this morning Beta looked at me and smiled in reply to my question. She knew what the best ingredient was and answered. “Love.”
I wiggled my left elbow and nodded. “Right.” I saw her look into the bowl and run her spoon around inside to get all the egg. “All gone?” I asked. She nodded and rose—recently turned 18 and so grown up looking—to take her bowl to the sink. I stood with her. “You know what the good thing is?” She paused, turned back toward me and I gestured at the empty bowl. “Even though the eggs are gone… it’s still full of love.” I hugged her and kissed the top of her head. “There’s always love for you, your sisters and mom.” She hugged me back and looked up.
“And Sable and Murphy.”
I looked at our two egg-fanatic dogs. “Yes, for them too.”