I hear footsteps and know they are his. I’m on my prayer couch, writing in the stillness of the early morning. He snuggles beside me, still childlike, and I am keenly aware that moments like these are fleeting.

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, sweetie.”

Thank you, Jesus, for this moment. We are fully present. Where I neither long for the moments when my twelve-year-old son was six-months-old, sleeping in my arms, nor fear the moments when he is twenty-four and texting home out of obligation to check in with mom. I sit savoring the fact that he called me mommy.

“You are up so early.”

“I have work to do,” he replies.

He’s twelve. What work could require a twelve-year-old to wake at 5:30 in the morning? I contemplate my homesteading fantasy where our family lives on acres of land far removed from worldly wiles. And I remember there is no garden safe from temptation.

“Can I make you some breakfast?” It’s all I know to do in the moment.

“Please, mommy. Eggs and some bread?” Twice he’s called me mommy. The lights in the kitchen are still dimmed, camouflaging my tears. I will cancel all my plans today and bake bread for this child and the three others that are still sleeping.

“Sure, sweetie. I have English muffins and am planning to bake bread today. Maybe we can have homemade bread for dinner, after football.”

“Thank you, mommy.” Three times.

He sits quietly at the family table working on math problems that are due when the sun rises. I gather yeast and flour, calculating my own measurements.

Thank you, Father, for the gift of my son and yours, and for the provision of daily bread.

Daily Bread Recipe

Makes two loaves (one to enjoy and one to share)!

1 1/4 cups warm water
1 package of dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
3 – 3 1/2 cups flour

For finishing: 1 tablespoon melted butter and coarse sea salt

In a large non-metallic bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Add the sugar and stir gently three or four times with a wooden spoon. The yeast will begin to poof. In a small bowl, melt the butter. When the butter has cooled slightly, add the egg and salt. Mix until combined and pour into the yeast mixture. Add the flour and stir together gently. Do not over mix. If the flour is too wet, add until the dough is no longer sticky. Cover the bowl with a damp dishtowel and let the dough rise, about 1 1/2 hours. When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and fold out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form each one into a loaf by turning it over and folding several time, adding small amounts of flour, if needed. Place the loaves on a baking sheet. Let the loaves rise again until doubled in size, about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When the loaves have doubled, make three cuts in the dough with a sharp knife. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.