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A Small Request

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Jill’s clothes were getting decidedly small.

They were all having breakfast together one morning as usual when Lily noticed it. Leonard asked her to pass the bread basket, and as she did, her sleeve pulled up well past her wrist. Lily noted this with some surprise, then gave the girl a scrutinizing glance. Her daughter was so small that she hadn’t noticed it, but it did indeed appear that Jill had grown some. She resolved to talk to Leonard about the issue after she cleared the breakfast table.

But after breakfast, Milis barged into the kitchen and with an adorably red face and stuttering voice demanded to learn how to bake a pie. By the time they had finished and the disaster in the kitchen had been tamed, Leonard was already gone for the day. Lily decided that she could use this opportunity to more thoroughly investigate Jill’s clothes and find out if any of her garments could be adjusted, or if an entirely new wardrobe was in order.

By the time Leonard was due to return, Lily had finished her deliberation, and had to admit that the outcome didn’t look good. Jill had shot up more than she had realized, and most of her clothes were unsalvageable. Although she felt a twinge of unease at asking Leonard to spend so much money all at once, the knowledge that this was what their daughter needed bolstered her enough that she was able to ignore that twinge.

When she heard Leonard arriving home, she hurried down to the foyer to greet him. Jill had found him first, however, and leapt into his arms with a joyful cry of, “Daddy!”

Leonard smiled fondly as he lifted her up. “Hello, Jill. Did you have a good day?”

She nodded. “Yes, Mommy and Milis made pies today! She said we could have some when you got home!”

Lily, walking at a much slower pace than her daughter, reached the two of them and said, “That’s right. Why don’t you go find Milis and tell her we’re all ready to have some pie?”

“Okay!” Squirming out of her father’s arms, Jill ran off. Leonard started after her, but Lily stopped him with a hand on his elbow.

He looked at her in surprise as she said, “Sir Leonard, may I speak with you for a moment?”

He turned his body towards her, offering his full attention. “Of course, Lily. I can always make time to listen to you.”

She sighed internally. When was he going to stop making such misleading statements to her? “I actually have just one request…”

Leonard broke in, “Saying no to you causes me actual physical pain, but go on.”

Lily glared at him. “Sir Leonard, you can’t go around saying such things to me all the time!”

“Why not? I’m just stating the truth.”

“I’ve told you, it’s misleading!”

“Why is it misleading if it’s truthful?”

This time Lily sighed out loud. This conversation was, as usual, going nowhere. Deciding to drop the issue for now, she pressed on with her original mission. “Anyway, as you may or may not have noticed, Jill has grown lately. I checked her wardrobe, and it seems as if everything is too small.”

Instantly, Leonard said, “Then tomorrow I shall send a seamstress to measure her for new clothing.” He frowned slightly. “That’s odd, though. I hadn’t really noticed her growing. Maybe I need to be more attentive towards her.”

Lily shook her head. “I didn’t notice it until this morning, either. People do say that parents are usually the last ones to notice their child’s growth. Since we see her every day, her growth is so gradual that it’s easy to miss.”

The tender smile that Leonard reserved for her was back. “Thank you, Lily. You always know what to say to make me feel better. Was there anything else you needed from me?”

She shook her head.

“Well then, let’s go enjoy some pie with everyone.” Leonard gently placed a hand on her back and began steering her towards the kitchen. As they walked, he said lightly, “By the way, you should have the seamstress measure you while she’s here.”

Lily stiffened and looked up at him suspiciously. “What do you mean? Why would she need to measure me?”

Leonard scratched his chin. “Well, don’t women enjoy that sort of thing? Clothes shopping? I thought it would be nice if you got something new to wear, too.”

“Me? Why would I need new clothing?” she sputtered.

“I have taken into account what you said about not noticing the changes in people you’re close to, and now that I’m taking a closer look at you, it seems like your dress is starting to look a bit worn. Don’t you think you should order yourself something new? And besides, Jill will feel uncomfortable if she’s the only one being fussed over.”

Lily sighed. Sometimes this man was impossible to argue with. She smiled up at him sweetly. “All right, Sir Leonard. But only a couple dresses.”

He muttered something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like, “We’ll see,” but before she could address it, they were entering the kitchen and being greeted loudly by their daughter who was waving a pie server. Pausing in the doorway, Lily looked at the small scene of spirits and humans and smiled. Even though he was stubborn, Lily would forever be grateful that Leonard had brought her into this family.