Sunday, November 7, 2010
"Your daddy is so good to me," I say. I hand the chocolate jar to the backseat. Janie tips it sideways, fishes out a chocolate chunk. "I hope you marry someone like your daddy, Jane."
She sucks the chocolate down warm and soft. "I'm not gonna choose just anyone," she says. "I'm gonna spend some time choosin'."
"That's a good idea." I crunch a rectangle of chocolate, watch Janie in the rear-view mirror.
"I'm not gonna pick the one that is the handsomest," she rolls the glass chocolate jar to one side. Chocolates tumble. "I'm gonna pick the one that is the best for me." She watches a truck with ladders on the back pass in the left lane.
"Sounds like you'll pick a good one," I say.
We settle into the quiet rhythm of conversation. It weaves through traffic with us. She passes me chocolates; I let her hold the old mason jar. I ease into a parking spot; she spins the lid back on.
"I have not been eating chocolate at all," she says as she passes it back up front. "I've just been sitting here listening to you talk."
She grabs her wallet. I balance packages and swing the car door shut. Listening to me talk. Listening. to. me. Wow. Always on stage.
304. Crisp grapes.
305. Almond sugar cookies.
306. Books -- a whole library full, lined spine to spine in the basement.
307. Jane's listening ear and how she says the hard things probably happen because God wants to keep me humble.
308. Our children's wide eyes when I read Where the Red Fern Grows at night.
309. How Janie leaps out of the couch and demands that Little Ann LIVE when the small hound almost drowns in the winter-cold stream.
310. My tight throat and bleary tears and how everyone piles on us while we read.
311. How Lulie takes care of all the baby dolls in the house. Even Janie's.
312. Her incredulous frown when I suggest we just shake the pretend poo-poo out of the dolly diaper.
313. Whispering, "You are special," into the children's ears at night before bed.
314. New hair trimmers to tame little boy hair.
315. Jack's insistence that I cut off his girl hair.
316. An estate sale with lots and lots of books. Classics. Old.
317. Dates with each of the kids. Chocolate or lifesavers. The talk and play.
318. Rosie splashing my sleeves wet in the bath.
319. The almost-tidy-house, the almost-banana-bread still in the fruit basket, and the almost-frustrating night that ended in crunchy grapes and a puzzle instead.
320. Husband. A good, good husband -- ceaseless joking, irrepressible humor, funniness in every moment.
321. Another week. Another whole week.