"And I had Betsy's plate in one hand and mine in the other, and her plate actually started to BEND in HALF," Jane says. A paper plate, a scoop of fettuccini, a line of other volunteers behind her, I picture her story. "And Lauren was behind me," she says, "and grabbed the plate before it spilled all over."
"Oh, yeah," I say. "I seem to recall you telling me about this a minute ago, but I didn't hear the end."
"Yeah," she says. "How come that person came up and just started talking over me?"
"Oh," I say. "Is that what happened? I guess she didn't realize."
"'Cause if I did that I would get scolded," Jane says.
"Yeah. That's true," I say. "Do you know what you do in a situation like that?"
"Be gracious. Just be gracious."
"Oh," she says.
"You know, Jane, it's really good you are noticing stuff like this," Craig adds,"because the things you learn while you are young are the things that stick with you your whole life."
"Huh," she says.
"Yup," I say. Your whole life. Small habits are actually a destination.
Conversation moves on, a story about the flu shot, Jane a repository of facts and figures and pearls of mirth. I watch how she traces the moves of conversation, interjects herself yet pauses to acknowledge other players. The choreography, it's like learning to jump double dutch and just as mesmerizing.
I make a mental note: Pay attention. Be present. Notice when people interrupt.
6214. "I feel like I am going to explode with tiredness and emotion," Jane says before bed. "I'm not happy. I'm not sad. I'm just BOTH," she says.
6215. Betsy strokes George's face. "Don't pick his nose, ok?" I say.
6216. Myra offers to make Joe toast. "Wellll, just don't burn it, ok?" he says.
6217. Spiced pecans.
6218. Craig finds a documentary on the harpy eagle and plans a family night around it. "Well," Jane says, "crocodiles are my favorite animal, but now harpy eagles are my second favorite."
6219. I finally give Jack and Joe haircuts. It's like shearing sheep.
6220. The children organize the literature books for our next two units.
6221. Craig plans a field trip to go eagle watching.
6222. We begin to learn the limits of what we can plan in a day and realistically get completed.
6223. Raspberry leaf tea.
6224. I find a houndstooth button-down shirt for Jack. "It's just the right thickness, Mom," he says.
6225. We get into a routine of hard boiling eggs. Perfect timing, perfect yolks.
6226. The writings of John Newton. All I knew of him was Amazing Grace. So. Much. More.
6227. I continue to search for what God is doing each day that I might join in.
6228. I find joy and strength as unexpected results. Illusive when I pursue them directly, they reside happily in my peripheral. I suppose they were never meant to be the point of my life.
6229. The children another week older, I feel like this is all going so fast. I still the moments to memorize as many as I can.