His tone was so pleasant. "I need to make an egg baby."
I must have looked confused. "Do you know how to make an egg baby?" he asked. I did not. "You just use an egg and a pin. You put a hole in either side and blow all the insides out of the egg. It's due today."
I had a vague memory of my father trying this when I was a child, maybe for Easter? I remember him actually sucking out the raw yolk because the blowing method did not work.
My son had to leave for school in 40 minutes. I took an egg out of the refrigerator and found a large needle. I put the needle on one end of the egg and drove it through. The egg cracked. One dead baby.
My boy took a look. "Do you have any white eggs?" he asked. He was supposed to name the egg baby and carry it around in a safe container for a spell, take care of it like a parent. I only had brown. No problem. We decided that his baby could be biracial or adopted.
This time Dale put the pin through both ends without cracking the egg. Using a combination of running water and blowing, we cleaned it out. He drew a face and hair and named his progeny Ovi Juan Kenobi.
We lined a tissue box with bubble wrap and off he went. This was a project for health class. The point, I guess, is to deter teens from having children? I have no idea.
But an eggshell is a good metaphor for a child. An eggshell is fragile. It will break unless you take precautions. Yes?
Likewise, everything you say to your child can make or break them. I could have snapped at my son when he sprung this project on me at the last minute, made a comment about planning ahead. But I didn't. Because the previous night, out of nowhere, sitting at the table eating a snack, he gave me one of the most important parenting lessons I've ever received, way more valuable, probably, than carrying an egg baby.
It was quiet. My daughter was asleep and my husband, out of town. "Do you know when I am happiest?" he asked. "When you're happy with me."
At the end of the day, the egg, miraculously, was unbroken.