"When are we going to read Bibles?" Jack flops his blue Bible against the black leather couch. "Momma, when are we gonna read?"
I walk shoulder tight, balancing morning fog and taut headache. "I'm comin'."
The children plop like marbles next to Jack, bump and bobble, squeeze in, Bibles stacked on knees.
"Where am I gonna sit?"
They shuffle a narrow slit between Jack and Lucy, optimistic of my swelling body. The couch reshuffles around my landing.
"Ok." One at a time they pass me Bibles. I read. I string the words together, hope they sprout wings and carry the day.
We trundle through 1 Chronicles, the temple, King David, how he donated hundreds of tons of gold to build the temple. Donated. Whole tons of gold. I wonder if my piano weighs a ton. A hundred tons. I wonder how much a garbage truck weighs.
In the barrage of images I hardly notice David's charge, "How many of you are willing to set yourselves apart to the LORD today?" It's between paragraphs. I take a breath.
And before I read on Jack blurts, "I am!"
Jane choruses, "I am." And I hear it. They're following the threads. All I have to do is read.
1762. How the children gather baby dolls and diaper bags, load them in the rocking chair, and Jane calls out, "Okay, everyone, start your motors." One by one, they punch start on their mechanical toothbrushes, pretend their car has a real hummin' motor.
1763. How Jack bombles past the computer desk, "Mom, you're doing a good job cleaning." We blink at each other. "If you were cleaning," he ammends.
1764. His confession, "I know grown-up-talk." And the explanation, "It's how to talk and like it."
1765. Jane's breakfast commentary, "When Lucy opened the door it sounded like a whole sea was rushing in."
1766. Jack's observation as he bounds in from the henhouse, "When cats run they spring up and down," eyes wide.
1767. A morning playing with cousins in the winter sun and grown-up visiting amongst mothering.
1768. How Jack pats his new Bible, "I like this Bible better than all my others even though it doesn't have pictures."
1769. Chocolate chip cookies baked with browned butter.
1770. How Lucy plugs an ear, shrieks, and calls, "Can you HEAR me?"
1771. How Jack offers to make my bed, wide grin and blink-blink of blue eyes.
1772. How I find his fake snake slither between the sheets that night.
1773. A pot of winter stew and the company that came with it.
1774. New Year's Eve with cousins run blissfully wild among adults and hors d'oeuvre and an early night's sleep.
1775. Jane's, "Come on guys, let's go downstairs and play house," when my neck and shoulders strain against the thumb-drum of the headache.
1776. A new year, 25 weeks into this pregnancy, and pressing on, rounding the 17th mile of this marathon.