Last week I referred to my book. Well, here is a taste of the Prologue.
I run my fingers through the lace curtains as they flutter against my bedroom wall and watch their shadows play with the sunbeams streaming through the window. A family of crows perches on the old fir tree outside, talking over each other in a cacophony of calls. Pots and pans clink downstairs as Mom and my two sisters make dinner.
I lie there in my bed, listening to the sounds of my own raucous family—six kids between the ages of five and thirteen. Dad and my oldest brother, Kevin, are in the yard just below my second-floor window, working on their usual Saturday afternoon project, their voices a back-and-forth hum, familiar. My two youngest brothers, Matthew and David, come barreling around the corner of our well-kept colonial, their little feet slapping the concrete, yelling about some slight one did to the other. Dad’s voice is placating but firm. Matt and David are always at each other. I roll my eyes, but inwardly I find their bickering somehow sweet and secure. Maybe it’s because we all did it, all six of us kids. We’d jab at each other, literally and emotionally, always trying to rile up the other, but it was generally good-natured ribbing. We did it knowing that even if we crossed the line, we’d be forgiven, no questions asked.
“Hey, Colleen!” Mom yells from downstairs, “it’s time to set the table.” I’m nine years old and this is one of my chores this week. We all pitch in and help; we have to. Running a household of eight people takes a lot of work.
I roll over on my bed, allowing the curtains to skim my back as I get to my feet. The crows caw again, and I sense they want to talk to me. I turn back and look out the window. I make a pretty good attempt at calling back. They stop and stare at me, cock their heads. I count eight of them, just like my family. We have the perfect family, I think to myself, three girls, three boys, and a mom and a dad. I know I can’t determine gender when I have children, but if I could have my way, I’d have the exact same family I have now: not too big, like some of the other families in our parish, and not too small. My best friend, Patty, has four kids in her family and her house is just too quiet.
I go downstairs and set the table, weaving between my sisters and Mom as they finish dinner preparations. When everyone’s seated at the table, we fold our hands in prayer and say our before-dinner blessing.