Tragedy of a Broken Egg

The chickens are pulling their weight.
The chickens are pulling their weight.
At long last, our chicken project has paid off.

After weeks of hearing about how our chickens were supposed to lay eggs for us, my daughter Brontë was delirious with anticipation. She would check their coop every morning and scold the chickens for their lack of production.

She would given them a hard, disapproving stare, slowly shake her head, and say, “NO EGGS, chickens, NO EGGS!”

Apparently her persistent and firm corrections paid off, because after  this morning’s chicken-feeding round, Brontë opened the egg box, and what did we find?  EGGS!

Brontë was thrilled, throwing her little arms up and running around in circles, yelling “EGGS! EGGS! CHICKENS MAKE EGGS!” She was so excited, you would have thought Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Princess Elsa just rolled up in an ice cream truck.

“How many eggs do we have?” I asked her. “Let’s count them!”

She peered into the box, began pointing at each egg and calling out, “Two! Five! Eight! Six!” (Because Brontë still thinks the way to count is pointing at things while randomly shouting out any numbers you know)

“There are five eggs!” I told her. “I’m going to go get your eggs basket so we can bring them in the house.”

Brontë has a cute little egg basket with blue trim. I thought it would be fun for her to bring it to the coop every morning so we could count the eggs together before collecting them in an adorable container.

Brontë was too giddy to wait, however. When I was halfway back to the house, I turned around to see her reaching into the coop and pulling out handfuls of eggs.

“Careful!” I told her, “Be gentle with the eggs!”

She ran behind me, squeezing the eggs in her tiny fists with her arms extended over her head. She broke into excited giggling while shouting “WE HAVE FIVE EGGS!” and whirling in slaphappy toddler circles. Then, she skidded over to the porch, scrambled up the steps…

And tripped.

Falling on her shins, she reflexively squeezed her fists tighter… and heard, “CRUNCH!”

Brontë takes much pride in her job as Official Egg Collector
Brontë takes much pride in her job as Official Egg Collector
She stood up, opened her eyes, and stared at broken shells and yellow egg ooze running down her arms. After blinking in quiet shock for a couple moments, she tossed back her head, threw her mouth open and started wailing.

“Eggs,” she cried, “Sad… Egg… Gone.” She looked again at the pile of shell bits and ooze, then whispered, “Oh, eggs.”

The poor girl was absolutely heartbroken. “It’s okay,” I reassured her, “It was an accident. Eggs are easy to break. We will be more careful. It’s okay” I hugged her until her slow sobbing finally quieted down.

She eventually felt better, but the sad image of broken eggs continued to haunt her. Throughout the day, she would be happily playing then suddenly stop, stare off into space, and break into shaking sobs, murmuring, “Eggs….Accident.”

But at least she has hope. Later, John called from work and as I was talking to him, Brontë frantically tried to grab the phone. I passed to her and she smiled and said, “Daddy?”

A huge, proud smile poured across her face. “We have eggs!”

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