"Oh, no. What have you done? What have you DONE?" Before I can stop myself I say it again, "What have you done?"
"I tried to ask Lucy for help," Jane peers around the open fridge. I stare at an egg carton splayed across the floor, thirteen eggs smashed on the hardwood. Yokes ooze into puddles. She stares at me.
"Ugh." I punctuate my displeasure with groans. "Someone get me a roll of paper towels," I shout. "What do you mean you asked Lucy to help? You should have set the strawberries DOWN and THEN moved the eggs."
No one answers. I slop yolk and shell into the bungled carton, grumble and groan, wheel out paper towels, scoop gelled remains. "Here. Take this to the trash." I smash the lid on the carton, thrust it toward Jane.
The front storm door clatters. I sigh. Thirteen eggs. Thir. teen. eggs. What a mess.
My words still hang in the air, a stench like burnt stew. They linger. I stare at the streaked floor. I wet down my anger and stare, sag, sigh. Why am I making such a terrible template for them to follow? I feel the ugly words around me, inside me.
Jane slides onto the bench at the kitchen table, gathers crayons and paper. I slip in next to her. We sit. The moment bunches up around us.
"Jane, I'm sorry." I shake my head. "Did I make you feel bad about that?" I find her eyes. She blinks.
"No," she says. "You have to be pretty harsh to make me feel bad." She shrugs, "I don't usually feel bad unless I think people are really serious."
"Oh." I watch her eyes, guileless like her father. "Ok. Well, I still shouldn't talk to you that way. Would you forgive me? That's not a right way to talk."
"Yeah." She grabs a yellow crayon. I lean on an elbow.
Effortless as a crayon picture she smooths these frayed ends of pregnancy and stands on her own two feet.
2013. How Lucy wonders, "Do you think God will have picture Bibles in heaven for the kids?"
2014. And her furrowed brow, "Why does your skin get wrinkly when you're about to die?" And Jane nodding, "And then you start shrinking."
2015. Lucy's advice shouted to Jack, "If you sit on the toilet too long, your butt will start to hurt."
2016. Jane's encouragement, "You're being nice, Momma. Something has gotten into you, and you are just being nice."
2017. How Lucy keeps asking to go see Great-Grampa.
2018. How Jane recognizes her cousin Jude is an encourager, "Judo always tells me, 'Good job,' Mom."
2019. Two birthday parties in one week for cousins on both sides. How they make the simple things eclipse the big.
2020. Pancakes and fruit with friends.
2021. A camera lesson from a pro on how to use the camera's manual setting.
2022. Myra's new ploy to call, "Momma wipe poo-poo," anytime, night or day, she wants me to come running.
2023. Lucy's observation, "God's the BEST boss."
2024. How Jane explains, "I like to hear other people's ideas and think about how they are different than my ideas and play them over and over in my mind. And they just keep getting more and more different."
2025. Learning that a simple explanation is better than a mystery for a mind like hers.
2026. Lucy'e explanation for a red mark on her hand, "I put a little bit of my spit on one mark, and it came off."
2027. Catching Myra licking the honey lid out of the trash.
2028. Watching Jack wrestle, seeing that resolve to never give up, never give up.
2029. How Myra in my arms and babe in my belly come out unscathed when I stumble head first into the pavement en route to watch Jack's match.
2030. How the skinned knee and scraped ear, sore shoulder and torn tights, remind me the kids are ok.
2031. Knit fabric.
2032. A pie crust shield.
2033. How Lucy studies the fake trophy Ellin gave her and frowns, "Why did she write #1 on it," she says, "when I'm #3." And how we laugh with our third born.
2034. How Myra snuggled on my lap all through church today.
2035. Sleeping more and worrying less.
2036. Eating strawberries and ice cream almost every night.
2037. Playing Canasta with Craig until he's won one too many.
2038. Letting go of my expectations of this baby's delivery and taking it as it comes.
2039. And praying for what we should name this little boy.