One of the things I enjoy most about my day is lunch.

It is the prelude to a quiet time of the day when baby Skyler will nod off to sleep after her oats or porridge and crackers, and I'll put her down for her mid day nap, and then Rae and I can both sit at the table for a quiet meal together.

Today was the same. With Doris Day crooning about what romance was to her, my older daughter and I sat down for a meal of chicken sandwiches – a favourite for both of us – and baby carrot sticks. As Rae slowly enjoyed her lunch, she turned to me and said.

"Thank you mommy, for the chicken sandwiches."

And she gave me her sweet smile, the smile that's reserved just for me when she's enjoying whatever she's eating or playing with or watching on TV. I call it her 'good girl' smile.

After a few more bites, she asked me, "How to make chicken sandwiches, mommy?" She's been doing a lot of that lately, asking where things come from and how things are made. Lokes says she's passing an invisible milestone now to increased curiosity of her surroundings. Made me want to weep.

Anyway, not really caring that she won't understand most of what I'd say, I gave her the recipe my mom gave me when I went off to college 'coz the only thing I had time (and the budget) to make was chicken sandwiches then. And then I told Rae she could make some when she was bigger.

Grinning in between bites, she said, "Yes! I will make yummy chicken sandwiches when I grow up!"

As I watched my girl nibble on baby carrots, cheeks smudged with mayo and eyes twinkling with happiness as she took her time with her diminishing sandwich, I couldn't help but wonder how I would've missed times like these had I chosen to continue working.

Quiet afternoon meals, invisible milestones, and the start of real communication.

Not a salary, but I'll take it.