"I had a dream Obama came to our house for dinner." I flip a pot-sticker, Lucy perched at my elbow.
"Oh!" she stands straight on the black thimble stool.
"And we had to call him Mr. Obama," I say and flop another pot-sticker sideways.
"Did he really come?" she asks, eyebrows arched.
"No. It was just a dream." I rest the spatula on the edge of the pan, catch Lulie's blue eyes.
She furrows her brow, "If Obama came to our house," she says, "you could call him YUCKY Obama."
She purses her lips. I pause. "No. I would call him Mr. Obama." I carry on as if pot-stickers were the universe, flip and switch, brown each side. "Even though I don't like him," I add. "I would show him respect because he's in charge." We listen to the pop-pop of olive oil sizzle in the pan. "Would you do that?"
I blink, and she nods her head like a giant bell. "Yeah," she says, "I would do what you would do."
We nod, furrow our brow and turn the pot-stickers down to low.
Respect, an anchor.
1611. How Lucy pats my face while we pray.
1612. How Myra Rosie wears a rubber band around like a silly band to copy the big kids.
1613. Jack's rally, "Let's go outside and play Billy Goat where I'm the billy goat."
1614. How Myra tries to put my hand in her mitten.
1615. How Lucy belts out, "Holy, holy, holy," while she gets dressed.
1616. Jack's prayer, "God, thank-you that I'm healthy and whole."
1617. How Myra giggles when I whisper, "I love you," in her ear.
1618. How she pulls my face to hers, eye to eye.
1619. How she wraps her baby in a blankie and whispers, "Shhhh."
1620. Finding Lucy in the yard wearing Jack's three-sizes-too-big shoes.
1621. How the kids collect bowls full of marigold seeds and sprinkle them gold over the garden. And their explanation, "We were pretending like it was Jesus' body and we were putting spices on it."
1622. Learning about lying and one child's comment, "I was wondering when everyone was going to find out I was lying." And the realization it's actually better when we do.
1623. How Myra hops in my chair, opens my chocolate bar, and takes a good sized sample when I'm gone a moment to discipline Lucy.
1624. Lucy's sing-song voice, "Jack, I've got a good idea for the house." And his reply, "I know, keep it clean."
1625. Her attempt at conversation with Janie, "Jane, are you a pig? I'm a pig."
1626. Learning about the wolf problem in Montana, how they've decimated wild and domestic game, pretty much wiped out local hunting, and Lucy's summation, "We waaaaant the animals so we can shoooot them."
1627. How Myra Rosie pulls my hand to her face after I rub her cheek. How she squishes our faces together when I rescue her from falling off the kitchen bench.
1628. "And then all the people criiiied out to the LORD," Lucy reading her Bible.
1629. Jane's matter of fact, "Did you know that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven?"
1630. And her advice to Jack, "Slow and stead wins the race, Jack. Remember SLOW and STEADY wins the race, about the speed of walking."
1631. My Dad and Mom home safe from Africa. Family gathered to see them in at the airport.
1632. Having parents I'm proud of.
1633. Our living room rearranged, wool rug rolled out for the winter.
1634. Jane teaching the memory verse, "Wanna listen to it a few more times? 'Cause I could hear that you were sort of struggling."
1635. Her furrowed brow as I put on make-up, "Momma, I can't even tell when you wear make-up."
1636. Her sweaty curls and flushed cheeks after nap, "I love you more than the other kids," she says, "not 'cause I don't love them, but because you're my mommy."
1637. Learning more each day how to lead these children and follow my husband.