"Mom, MOM, wanna go check for eggs with me?!" Jack tumbles into the kitchen, a circus around my ankles.
I splash dinner's silverware into the sink, shake crumbs out of the rag, sigh at the cutting board, cheese grater, and avocado peels scattered on the counters.
"Sure." I measure out the word, blink into his blue eyes. Sloppy bowls from taco soup frame the kitchen. Still, I dry my hands, slip into shoes and red coat.
He tilts his head, "I like going," he says, "with people I love, so I want to go with you."
We step into the black night, winter air wet around our necks.
"Here, hold my hand," he encircles my cold fingers. "Just follow me," he pulls my hand over the frosty grass. "I don't want you to get lost," he says.
His shoulders square against the moonlight, we stroll to the henhouse, creak open the nesting box to peek for eggs. None, just straw.
And so he clunks it shut, gathers my hand, tugs us back, over the grass and into the house.
While I wipe smears of avocado off the kitchen table, slosh bowls from the sink, call for children to change into jammies, it all feels light, a comma between moments.
1801. How Jane holds up a picture of Jack's, "The question," she says, "was how do you get salvation, and Jack tried to draw a picture of a person praying."
1802. How the children take the extension cord from their alarm clock and use it to plug in the toaster at the dining room table before I'm out of bed Monday.
1803. Jane from the backseat of the car, "The candy sometimes falls on the floor, and then throughout the year we find some of it and eat it."
1804. Lucy burping one of her baby dolls, "Mom, there was a spider in one of the strollers, and I killed it with my bare hand."
1805. Laundry done in shifts, everyone helping.
1806. Learning again the importance of eye contact with the people I love.
1807. Jack's determination, "I want to be a farmer when I grow up."
1808. Lucy's wide-eyed, "Did you see me DROOL?" when I tuck her into bed. And her matter of fact, "I still sleep pretty well when I drool."
1809. Frank conversations with the people I love.
1810. Stew and a table set for us, family gathered to enjoy it.
1811. Learning when to give small acts of service to our children as tokens of love.
1812. Saying no to small expenses that add up to a lot.
1813. Learning more how my mom thinks about the world and finding it change me.
1814. Jane's scrawling on the chalk board for Craig when he gets home: I love you, Daddy. Thanks for working so hard.
1815. Homemade pizza with cold Pepsi.
1816. Lucy's exclamation, "Mom, when I get in the other kids' bean bags, they whip a banana peel at me. And it's very FUN."
1817. My resolution to let banana peel-whipping be on the list of things I call now fun.
1818. An imperceptible shift toward being a little less sharp, a little more willing to let things go.