Their bare feet pound in, a chorus of drums -- thump-thump, thump-bump. Wrinkled leaves in palms, they heap the first harvest of mint up on my cutting board. I mince it down, pile it onto our salad.
Craig barbecues. I unfurl green fists of salad in white bowls, set places. We encircle the table and say grace, eat. The mint, the smoky meat, greek olives, cucumber, a kaleidoscope of summer, we visit enswirled in smells.
I pass ketchup and mustard down the line, blop jalapeno yogurt on my plate. "Mmmm."
"Mmmm," Janie echoes, "having mint on my salad reminds me of summer."
"Mmm. Me too." I swallow in big mouthfuls. "So good."
We grin. Mint. Summer. And in a small skip of a moment, it dawns on me: she's big, grown, old enough for a smell to evoke a whole season. A mile post, another chink in the path, and then before I can even swallow time skips on.
874. Lulie's eye doctor and how she scored perfect on the eye test.
875. Long drive to the big city and how we play Would You Rather, Kids' Edition.
876. The zoo! A whole half a day wandering the zoo. And how we all loved different animals.
877. Tea cookies. Lemon ginger creams.
878. Green grass, billowing rhubarb.
879. Honey yogurt.
880. Dried mangos.
881. How Jack suggests we do Sunday laundry after church and then does it.
882. Lulie's prayer, "And thank-you that you not stop loving us. Amen."
883. How Jane picks up after Jack and Lulie quiet and unnoticed, just for kindness.
884. How Rosie flaps her arms to the other kids when I get her up each morning.
885. A mountain of paper pots turned into six and a half flats of plants that husband hauls out to the sun every morning and back in at night.
886. The promise of a garden.
887. Momma e-mailin' to see how I'm doing.
888. A whole watermelon gobbled up save one small wedge.
889. Jack and Craig in new shirts -- wild plaid.
890. Fried chicken and spoiling-your-socks-off love on the farm.
891. A big bag of spinach.
892. Singing at the top of our lungs when we drive and how Lulie shouts, "HEY!" on all the wrong beat.
893. How my children melt under soft words of encouragement.
894. How Rosie folds her one-year-old hands when we pray.
895. Craig's cheerful advice, "Well if you want to be a better mom, just be a better wife." And how even though we giggle and laugh, it's so true.
Thanks, Momma, for the photo.