"Momma, would you talk to Daddy that way in front of anyone?" Jane bonks a hard boiled egg on the counter, furrows her brow, and picks the shell away in pieces.
"No." We stand elbow to elbow. I smooth my fingers over the spongy white of my peeled egg. "I only talk about the things that really bother me in front of the people I trust."
"Oh." She steps over to the sink, swishes her egg clean in the water, feels for any debris left behind.
"I wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea," I add, "and think bad about Daddy when he's not. You know what I mean?"
"Uh-huh." She nods.
I rub my fingers over the prickly skin of a cucumber fresh from the garden. I slice it up the middle, quarter it into long spears. She bonks more eggs and picks them clean. I chop the cucumber into tiny cubes, hew chives, slice tomatoes, pineapple. The afternoon assembles itself into a salad and a row of hard boiled eggs. In my mind, I pour the whole conversation with Craig through a sieve of seven-year-old ears.
"Did you hear how I was being really ungrateful that Daddy was trying to talk to me?" I ask.
"Yeah." She makes her way to rinse another fresh peeled egg, slides it in next to the others. And though she hardly says a thing, I know she's ordering every word I say, lining them up like the fresh peeled eggs.
And so, when I hear Craig's flip flops cadence down the hardwoods, I call, "Hey, Craig!" And he comes, and I weave confession and gratitude into a blanket to catch us.
1202. Lucy's wet footprints on the driveway.
1203. Purple polish on three-year-old toes.
1204. Lulie's prayer, "Jesus, I pray that you will help all the people not to die in Hell. And I pray that you will help Momma mot to die in Hell. And I pray that you will help all the kids not to die in Hell. Amen." And Daddy? He's already a saint to us.
1205. How Craig and I hold hands together to make our children maintain a baseline obedience. And how in the end we all end up enjoying each other as a result.
1206. How we read together before bed. "See the next one? It says, Shoe Salesman for God," I say. "That guy is a shoe salesman for God. He sells shoes." And how Jack rolls over on his pillow and comments, "Pretty big shoes."
1207. Learning to lead by asking questions not just issuing commands.
1208. Jane's prayer, "Jesus, I pray that Sophie would choose you -- if she hasn't thought to choose you that she would. And I pray that Olivia would choose you and Claire and their parents. And I pray that everyone would choose you. I pray that that person who is going around our neighborhood stealing things will choose you. Amen."
1209. How Jack finds a penny on the washer and asks, "Can I have it for my college money?"
1210. Craig's faith, "Well Lord, not our will, but your will." And the blanket of peace he pulls up under our chins.
1211. How Lucy grins at me with a fist full of mint. "Open your mouf," she says.
1212. How a rendition of The Firey Furnace ends with Lucy squeezed into the old fireplace, Sunday dress not withstanding, and how we somehow salvage the outfit and smudgy face.
1213. How when I look in on the chickens, I catch Jack drinking out of the hummingbird feeder before he's really gotten good at it.
1214. A new screen door.
1215. Lava rocks for making artisan bread.
1216. Jack's commentary to me, "Everyday I like you more and more and MORE. I can't believe how much I like you." He grins and hops and then pokes the air, "But I like GOD more than I like you."
1217. Jane's request, "Jesus, please help us to get as poor as we have to to help the Africans. Amen."
1218. My cousins come to visit from over the mountains and how the loop of family closes for a moment, and we enjoy our friendship.
1219. Cherries picked fresh off Great-Grammie's old tree. And how Craig's dad just backs the pick-up there under the tree and loads the buckets.
1220. A new book of memory work.
1221. Magazine with a recipe entitled: Blueberry French Toast Casserole.
1222. Niece who babysits for us. And how Jane tells us later, "Ellin told me that she doesn't really babysit for the money. She does it because she loves to babysit." And how it makes her worth a million bucks to us.
1223. Lunch out with my dad's office and friends of his and how all the family and friends weave such interesting conversation. How humbling it is to be around so many wise people who treat you like an equal.
1124. Craig's avocado sprouted and forming leaves.
1225. Learning to do the next good thing in front of me and not think too much about the rest.