"I was really glad I had my flash light," Jane bobs into the bedroom, plaid nightgown and wide grin.
"Oh," I grimace, elbow deep in the nightly diaper change. "Why is that?" Rosie squirms. I frown for her to stay still.
"'Cause I couldn't see in the chicken house without it." She sways with her grin.
"What did you do when you looked in there?"
"We just looked in at them, " she continues, "Then we prayed."
"Oh." I snap Rosie's diaper and give her behind a little swat. She smiles. "What did you pray about?"
"Jesus please help these chickens have a good night," she says. "We love you. Amen," she lilts in sing-song voice.
"Alright," I gather the soiled diaper and miscellaneous wipes. "Well, good."
Later, bedtime prayers, and she adds, "Please, help the chickens to love you. And please, help them to start laying soon. Amen"
Amen. The little things, they all add up.
"My act of service was that I moved the high chair over to the table for Momma," Janie smiles then presses the top bun on her hamburger.
"Oh, you did!" A night spun crazy, harsh words on both sides, I never noticed.
"And my words of love are for Momma," she catches my eye from the opposite corner of the table. "I love how she teaches us school and makes us work hard so we can have that good feeling inside."
Good feeling. I lean on an elbow, the food blurred to bokeh. All that driving will to work them hard, and she sees it, the good feeling at the end. It all adds up. Suddenly every burden is feather-light.
1342. Craig engrossed in a book, reading away all hours of the night and day.
1343. How the children spend an hour on GO FISH and self-mediation.
1344. How Lulie shouts, "OH, my baby POOPED," and all the kids rush to help with the pretend poop.
1345. Finding a fistful of garden beans someone socked away for later in the freezer.
1346. Lulie's prayer, "Please help we to have LOVE. In Jesus name, amen,
1347. Jane's valiant prayer that we will have a thousand babies (!) and Lulie's serious nod, "Then we will be able to play with a thousand babies."
1348. A quart of hummus blended fresh from simmered chickpeas and garlic.
1349. Trying to draw seashells with Mom and sisters-in-law, while the cousins bluster and gallivant and make all manner of fun.
1350. Egg salad sandwiches made with sweet curry and Mom's secret alchemy of spices.
1351. Plain salty potato chips.
1352. Dark chocolate passed around while we laugh over our seashell drawings.
1353. How Lucy puts her own patch on her eye each morning.
1354. The way one orange zinnia can suck down a whole vase of water in just a few days.
1355. How Jane fetches her Cinderella wash cloth for me when I run out of rags in the kitchen.
1356. How Rosie covers her eyes and prays, "Jesus, Jesus."
1357. Jack's assessment, "Mom, you're the Muffin Man that lives on Dreary Lane," when I make oatmeal yam muffins.
1358. How Craig's mom offers to make whatever we want for dinner. (Fried chicken, the full meal!) And chimes, "It's nothing I wouldn't do for anyone," when I gush all over with gratitude.
1359. Great-Grammie's cherry pie with toasted coconut on top.
1360. Jane's explanation, "No there aren't any chickens in these eggs because they take away the rooster so the chickens can't snuggle with him and have babies."
1361. Lulie's matter-of-fact, "Well, I will take care of him!" when I tell her Jack isn't old enough to volunteer in her class by himself. "Like if someone tries to punch him, I will tell a teacher," she adds.
1362. Learning the new normal of being pregnant this season.
1363. How the people at church take care of each other, a glut of generosity so big I cry.
1364. Sitting next to a dear friend at church.
1365. Salted almonds, dry roasted.
1366. Plum jam.
1367. How Jack prays almost every day that we will have just GREAT food. And how we try to get him to pray for other things, but all the while God does make our food just really, really, GREAT.
1368. A day at the fair with friends, all five walking hours of it.
1369. How Jack puts his hand on my shoulder and rubs my ear when he talks to me.
1370. Jane's plea, "Just remember, I'll be a big help," as Daddy gets ready to leave for the evening service. And how she turns to me, "Last time it was a no. Now it is a maybe, so it's getting a little warmer. I think maybe it's 50/50 now."
1371. And how as Craig grabs his keys to go he ask what I think. All I think of is how some of my favorite memories are when my dad took me to work with him.
1372. How he calls for Jane to get her shoes and climb in the car. Jack too.
1373. The girls' hair coiled in ringlets.
1374. How Rosie makes her eyes round as pennies and blows kisses when she really likes something.
1375. Craig's announcement, "Well, I found the source of the fruit flies. Lucy put a banana peel in the bathroom stool."
1376. Dishwasher emptied, loaded, and running. A gift from Craig.
1377. Another bucket of golden plums.
1378. Another week with my husband and children.