"Don’t tell me you’re going on a walk now. Mimi, please.” Kaylie pushed her Stokke back and forth. Little Brochie was keeping her up. She looked wrung out and too skinny. The night was not kind to her.

“You shouldn’t be up now,” Mimi said.

Kaylie looked pointedly at her whimpering baby. “Hear that, Brochie?” She turned back to Mimi. “You’re not going out now, you’re not.”

Mimi frowned.

“Coyotes.” Kaylie went on. “Bears. Wolves. Don’t be crazy. Stay inside.”

Mimi rolled her eyes, but the night looked a bit less inviting.

Brochie’s whimper turned into a howl. Kaylie lifted her up and sat down heavily into one of the over-plush sofas. Mimi perched beside her.

They were quiet for a long time, just Kaylie shushing her baby, the wind whistling.

“You know,” Kaylie finally said. Her voice was thick. “Sometimes I wonder if it’s really so great for family to work together.”

Mimi chewed her lip, stung. This was the pride of their family. The business, the family effort behind it.

“It’s just ’cuz things are so... complicated.” Kaylie paused. “I know you love Daddy very much, and he’s a great father-in-law, but the pressure. I’m so nervous, I need him to be happy with my work.”

The old guilt puddled in her stomach. Daddy was... Daddy, Daddy was wonderful. Did Kaylie have to pick out all his faults? “You know Daddy is very proud of you,” Mimi said, “He’s not trying to pressure anybody.”

Kaylie sighed. “You wouldn’t know. You’re his baby.”

That made her feel good. And blush.

It was funny, she could hardly figure it out herself. She was his baby. Sometimes the love was so strong, it stifled. Shana and Yochie were his big, spunky, confident girls. Mimi was just the sweetheart.

Mommy had always tried to mature her. If Mimi had a spat with a friend, Daddy would pat her hair and say she’s the best, but Mommy wanted to know what happened, and why, and maybe Mimi ought to think about it. When she found her magic in dance, Daddy whistled and clapped his hands, but Mommy signed her up for classes, and then insisted that she practice — and get to each class on time.

Mimi sighed. Mommy always tried, and she was frustrated and lonely doing it on her own, against Daddy’s papa bear hugs and hearty laughs. But she didn’t realize, Daddy was just being Daddy, and loving his baby, and even as it hurt her, she loved him for it.

Kaylie rubbed her eyes. “Mimi, what’s gonna be? This competition stuff is making me so tense.”

“Eh, I don’t want to think about it. Look, Kaylie, let’s go hot-air ballooning on Sunday.”

Kaylie laughed. “For goodness’ sake, it’s Shabbos now!”

“Right. So stop talking about stupid things like competitions,” Mimi yawned. “Let’s go for a walk.”

“Coyotes,” Kaylie said darkly. “Bears. Wolves.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 589)