"Ok, about five more minutes, then you should be done." I poke my head out of the kitchen, raise my eyebrows to Jane.
She nods, cups a hand over four remaining math problems. She scratches another answer on her paper then pauses, "I try to hide it from you," she says, glances back at the paper, "but it's just like, you're no dummy."
I laugh. She grins then rotates her pencil for the perfect hold and scrawls out more answers.
From the kitchen I chop onions for stew. I think of how Myra tried to eat a penny a couple of days ago, hand cupped over her mouth.
Jane and her math, Myra and her penny, I turn the images like smooth stones in my pocket.
Later, schoolwork a stack next to the jar of sharpened pencils, stew heated to a simmer, Jane lingers in the kitchen. Conversation orbits around dirty dishes, smudgy cutting boards, the way the world works.
"Maybe you should pleasure read," I suggest.
Jane leans on the counter. I plop a dish in the sink. "I sometimes just pleasure read," she says, "because I know I can get away with not doing school work if I hurry and start reading."
"Oh. Well, I guess that probably works, doesn't it?"
She nods. I laugh.
We visit, make the afternoon long and wide, a place we can hold hands and explain the world.
1819. How Lucy tries to help Myra be big like her. "Do this, Myra. Walk like a KANGAROO."
1820. How the story of David and Goliath collides with the topic of child birth and Lucy concludes, "I guess he just popped out ENORMOUS."
1821. How I corral Myra for bed and Craig warns me, "She may still have potatoes in her mouth -- although she did brush her teeth, twice."
1822. Lucy's raised eyebrows when she reports, "Jack said that if I peed on a towel in our room again he would give me the cold he caught."
1823. How Myra discovers fuzz between her toes and pulls all ten apart to check for more.
1824. The realization that she's been eating it.
1825. Jack's matter-of-fact, "You weight more than you used to," as he nods to my belly.
1826. How Lucy holds her baby doll up to the chalkboard and makes her write school stuff.
1827. Nearly a foot of fresh white snow.
1828. Myra decked out in diaper, hats, mittens, and cowboy boots vying to play in the snow.
1829. Lucy's assessment, "We played in the snow today for nine hours. Or five hours."
1830. Trying to figure out why kissing boo-boos really actually helps -- if the kiss actually lands exactly RIGHT on the boo-boo that is.
1831. How Lucy miraculously develops the skill of looking me in the eyes when she gets in trouble in Fred Meyer.
1832. How she tries to soothe Myra, "Myra, cool your jets off!"
1833. A new baby wrap for the new babe.
1834. Making a new friend and her kindness to our family.
1835. How kindness is contagious.
1836. How Jane wipes Myra's face after lunch.
1837. How Lucy prays at dinner, "God, thank-you that we have enough food to fill up our bodies."
1838. Her description, "Huh-HA. It's a bad word. It means YOU'RE WRONG."
1839. How Craig announces at breakfast that he felt the baby kick and Lucy's incredulous, "You have a baby in YOUR tummy?"
1840. Watching Myra try to whisper during school.
1841. How I listen to a Chapter 2 of Learn the Bible in 24 Hours, and Jane responds, "People are naughty from day one."
1842. How Lucy sings Holy, Holy, Holy in three-year-old soprano while she works a puzzle.
1843. How Myra makes an eight pretzel tower with her lunch.
1844. Homemade pizza and caesar salad with friends and how the children play games all night while we relax.
1845. Ice cream with peach rum sauce and an evening of reading by the fire with Craig.
1846. The sledding run he sculpted outback.
1847. A black baby for Lucy given with love, one that fits into to all her favorite baby jammies. "This one just popped out of my tummy," she says.
1847. Her admonition, "Be VERY quiet because my baby's to sleep in the stroller. He didn't sleep very well, and then I gave him a kiss and a hug, and he fell right asleep."
1848. Learning how to dye.
1849. Myra on my back shouting, "BOO!"
1850. Taking one thing at a time and feeling capable of at least that.
1851. Reading how the people of Israel said, "What is it?!" the first time they saw manna, and realizing I say that to most of the best blessings in my life.