"Hi sun," Lulie presses her lips to the window screen. "How are you today?" she stands tip-toe, leans her elbows deep into the couch back. "Good?" she chirps, "Good. Bye-bye." She slides down all in one motion and bumbles bare feet thumpty-thump through the kitchen.
The neighbor's cherry tree litters our yard with white petals. The wind sweeps and kicks drifts of them over the grass. A few moments and Lulie trundles in, a petal soft between thumb and forefinger.
"Look, mom," she says, "look what I found outside." She turns fingertips up. "That," she says, almost a whisper, "that might be from a bird." She raises both eyebrows, pets it soft, blinks. And then with a sigh, skitters off to more play.
The day swirls on. Concentric rings of play surround me. I order and reorder an army of dishes into sink and dishwasher, crunch dark chocolate like a low trumbling drum between my teeth. Tides of laundry, garden planting, school papers, they roll in and settle like surf around my ankles.
I brew coffee. And watch husband wrestle our rumpus rototiller. His broad shoulders will it in wide swaths deep into the garden and press it end to end. Black dirt unrolls, unfurls. I press my toes in the grass, Rosie piggy-back, white coffee mug in hand. He reigns the thrum-drum of that wild beast of a tiller and muscles it out of the garden. I watch him make great tiresome tasks, small like a communion wafer.
"Sorry, I've been sort of Sour Sal today," I blurt. "Will you forgive me?"
"Yup," he chimes, pauses and then heaves that roto on to the lawn. I sigh, smile.
Off to the side, Janie pipes in, "I know he still loves you," she says, and then lobs a stray chunk of sod into the green bin.
Children trail Craig. He edges the garden, and they pull and pull long snakes of sod away. The sod pops and breaks and tussles dirt everywhere. Still, we work, dirt dusted in our hair and clothes, smudged black on our hands. We work until sun sets and do the only thing we know to do, copy -- we copy Craig.
Love slips in, the smell of fresh turned dirt.
896. How Rosie smiles at the sound of my voice before she even opens her eyes.
897. Homemade Thai peanut sauce, limes squeezed with my own two hands, garlic crushed.
898. Big wings of lettuce and crisp tortilla chips dipped in it.
899. Two friends navigating the world of schooling their children.
900. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches shared.
901. Mason jar refilled with chocolate chips.
902. Friend who organizes my storage room into neat stacks as easy as riding a bike. How she turns work into art.
903. Pizza with big blots of sausage and wheels of onion, peels of pepperoni, cheese.
904. How Jane and Jack sneak out of bed and dress for church while Daddy's in the shower and then beg to go with him at 6:20 in the morning.
905. How he takes them with him.
906. Tortas de Aciete, essence of anise.
907. Two well child doctor visits. Clean bills of health.
908. Jane and Jack bobbing at my elbow, sweet and patient the whole doctor visit.
909. Rachelle's baby settled in a spica cast and how sister-in-law stops by to make it less scary with baby Rockie happy in hers.
910. A family outing to a play.
911. A visit over pizza and time spent with volunteers, the exchange of wisdom.
912. How we pray together.
913. The gradual accumulation of doing the right thing each day, how it adds up, how it compounds.
914. How Lulie keeps asking when we will brush off after I tell her we need to rush off to church.
915. How even when the wind fogs up her contact, she never complains.
916. Great-Grammie, now 96 years old, the weight and glory of almost a century.
917. How when the pastor says to thank the Lord for the ones that have been salt and light to you, I see my Dad and Mom in a million memories. Thank-.you, Jesus.
918. Little friend who wants to come over for lunch, the tenderness of friendship.
919. How I'm learning to do small things with great love.
920. A garden drawn up and ready to plant.
921. How mother-in-law stops by unexpectedly.
922. Janie's prayer, "Jesus, help us to just pour out the blessings you've given us on other people. Help us to give them everything they need. Like if they need silverware, help us to give them that, or whatever they need help us to give that and bless others." Yes. May it be so.