"You like it don't you?"
Jane, bent over a three ringed binder, looks up, pencil poised.
"You like it don't you?" I repeat.
"Uh huh. I like writing sentences," she says then tilts her head, "but I like writing stories more." I smile at how she pushes her pencil into the next sentence.
"No, " I pause, "you like being the kind of person that can get something done fast and enjoy it, don't you?"
She looks up, straight ahead, then then turns direct to my eyes. "I'm glad you disciplined me," she says and nods as if the end point of all the struggle were suddenly obvious and pleasant.
With that, her pencil already entangled in the next sentence, she gains something more precious than the work: strength.
Discipline gives us strength.
1554. Lucy's prayer, "And God, please help us when we do something naughty to tell our mom and dad and not keep it a secret."
1555. Dinner with my brother and sweet sis-in-law, the six of us invited to their apartment for beef stew and Springbok puzzles, ginger snaps and all four kids playing ball with their doggies.
1556. Figuring out how to assemble the workforce in this house who makes most of the laundry.
1557. Jane's affectionate, "Jack is such a boy," as she looks out the window. "He's got a log [bat] up here and is whipping the ground." She grins, "He is such a BOY."
1558. How Rosie falls asleep on my shoulder and Jane comments, "That's so sweet. Shows that she trusts you enough to fall asleep on you."
1559. How at dinner she interrupts my thoughts with, "Lulie, I like your face. Your face is so pretty." I turn to see her holding Lulie's face between her hands.
1560. Eight solitary seeds, the remains of Jack's apple.
1561. How I listen to a sermon while I make dinner and Jane asks, "Momma, I was wondering if you could quit listening to that guy and just enjoy us like we enjoy you."
1562. And how we do; we rest and enjoy and get filled up being together.
1563. How when I say, "Time for lunch," Rosie starts pushing her hair to the table.
1564. A visit with my grampa in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.
1565. How we play cards late into the night in his cedar cabin, and he tells me stories like about when he and Gramma met -- how they rode bikes on their first date. And how he asked his friend if he thought Marge would ever go out with him again and that friend said, "Only way to find out is to ask." So he did. And she said she didn't want to go to the show he suggested, but how about that Metropolitan Art Show downtown? Details, the kind I can picture.
1567. How when I ask, Grampa comments without the least bit of hesitation, that he has no regrets in life.
1568. That he only ever remembers having one argument with Gramma in all those decades of marriage.
1569. How when we pack to visit Grampa, I catch Lucy strapping Myra Rose into her suitcase.
1570. The pleasant surprise that my uncle ends up at Grampa's cabin too, and we see him after years and years.
1571. How on the car ride home Jack demands, "Lulie why'd you poke me in the eye to wake me up?" and Janie pipes in, "She probably did it because she loves you so much and wanted to be with you."
1571. Rosie-Posie with her red curls in two of the stubbiest little ponytails you ever did see.
1572. How the kids and I volunteer in Craig's class, and Jack comments that the best part for him is being with Jane.
1573. Jack's proud announcement to one of our dear friends, "Halloween's the Devil's birthday."
1573. A fire in the fireplace, a good book, and a little girl waiting for me to come sit by the fire and read.
1574. The trickle of notes from my parents now in Ethiopia, their continued safety.
1575. A miracle, how I feel our baby move inside of me.
1576. An afternoon on the farm with family.
1577. How all the cousins play The Boxcar Children and Craig and his brother make us laugh until our sides hurt.
1578. How even though we can't stay for dinner, Craig's mom has soup waiting in the wings in case we might be hungry -- the epitome of a giving person.
1579. How my brother stops by after a meeting in our neck of the woods and has afternoon coffee with us. How it's just like old times.
1580. How I'm learning to give the next good thing in front of me.
1581. How it's almost always the right thing.