"If Jesus had any sins, he would have had to die for HIS sins." I pull at a snarl of nachos, dislodge a chip. Lucy bites the corner of her peanut butter and jelly.
"And we would have to die for OUR sins on a CROSS," Lucy wrinkles her forhead, her cheeks round with sandwich, "and Myra would cry and cry on the cross." She pats little Myra's hand kitty-corner around the big black table.
"Well, you wouldn't necessarily die on a cross," I scoop up a diced avocado, "but you would go to Hell when you die and that's the part that would hurt."
Lucy tilts her head, "And Myra would cry and cry until they let her out." She nods and copies my matter-of-fact eyebrows.
"No, they never let you out. It lasts forever," I say.
She sways her shoulders, "Yeah, it lasts forever like amphibian."
"No, inphibian," Jane calls from the end of the table.
"INPHIBIAN," Jack shouts and jumps off the leather ottoman.
"Infinity," I say.
"Infinibin means forever and it never stops," Lucy recovers.
"Infinity," she punctuates.
With that we eat lunches down to clean plates and scattered crumbs. The children dicker over what books to bring to the beach and what to eat for breakfast in the car.
I tread lightly, let the current carry us.
1638. How Myra tries to give me a back rub.
1639. How she whispers, "Love," in my ear.
1640. How Lucy calls the salad dressing BRANCH all one dinner and points to the word, "Lighthouse," and sounds out, "Brrrraaaannch."
1641. How when I ask Jane to bring me my school plan book, Myra brings me my Bible.
1642. Jane's offhand comment as I cut sweet potatoes, "Mom, I gotta tell you something. You're the best mom I know of."
1643. Four children gathered around the oven to watch candied sweet potatoes bubble.
1644. First Tuesday in a month to gather with mom and sis-in-laws.
1645. Lucy's assessment, "The stars looked like little pieces of fire, but they didn't fall. And they didn't burn our eyes. They were really pretty."
1646. Myra sacked out in my lap while the older three work away at their schoolwork.
1647. Jane's observation, "Momma, time flaps its wings so fast." And Jack's, "Yeah, perhaps as fast as an American eagle."
1648. Lucy standing on tip-toe, "Mommy, even though you don't want me to grow so fast, I just go on and grow -- until I'm a grown-up."
1649. Youngest girl cousin a whole year old.
1650. How I pause at dinner dishes and see Jane sneaked away to twirl and hum to Christmas music.
1651. How she calls Craig's mom to see what we can bring for Thanksgiving.
1652. Early Thanksgiving with Craig's side, a feast to be sure, and laughter and sledding, knitting and talk over pie and coffee and how the day stretches and stretches on.
1653. How Lucy draws a picture of the baby inside of me: a bubble of sea-green and azure blue.
1654. Jane almost ready for bed, "I feel like I could only move as fast as a stone could move."
1655. Scrambled eggs and peppermint oreos.
1656. Jack's assessment, "I like learning about the world." And his full examination of our globe.
1657. How we hear Lucy whisper from the car's backseat, "Guys, let's NEVER do bad things."
1658. And her conclusion, "If Jesus didn't die on the cross, we're gonna have to go to Hell, all of us, even our DAD," eyebrows raised. "And," she adds, "it's gonna hurt really bad, and we can never get out, and all our teeth are going to fall out."
1659. The pressure, privilege of doling out a little more knowledge each day.