Monday, April 30, 2012

Finding Normal

"Mommy, I put the laundry in piles for you." Jack tosses a sock onto one of the piles, the living room now six towers of laundry.

"Thank-you, honey." I smile. He crosses his arms. He wrestles a pile of jeans and darks back into the whicker laundry basket. I watch from the couch, babe curled in my arm nursing.

"I heard you and Daddy talking," he says, "and I thought, I can help."

Help. That prickly conversation still inside, I watch him stuff the rest of the jeans in the whicker basket. The weight of my words circle back. I wish I'd spoken kinder to Craig.

Then it's Wednesday. The table a-skitter with sandwich crumbs and dribbles of honey, Lucy lingers.

"And when he's a husband," she nods to Jack, "he's gonna have to SHOOT bears and lions." She crunches into her apple and says with a mouthful, "That's really hard work."

She nibbles her apple down to the core, down to the seeds, french braids wild and fuzzy like the wind. Pink tee, denim shorts, flower eye-patch, she leans on an elbow and bites around the apple stem.

"And the new baby's gonna grow up and be another daddy," she carries on. "And he's gonna SHOOT stuff that will hurt you." She nods. I smile.

Shoot stuff that will hurt you. Daddy protects us. I don't appreciate this enough.


3040. How Jack tickles the back of Myra's neck when she's sad about having to obey me.

3041. How Lucy comments, "Daddy can handle the dark. I can handle the dark too."

3042. How I try to explain postpartum recovery to her and she responds with, "Do you feel normal?"

3043. The second retaining wall built in the back yard by Craig's strong hands and back.

3044. Bales of yellow sod rolled into place for recovery.

3045. Snickers bars.

3046. A sunhat for red-headed Myra.

3047. How I ask Jane what she likes best and least about her life, and she says, "Best -- that God takes care of us. Least -- that Adam and Eve sinned."

3048. How we talk about lying, and Jack says he can't tell if someone is lying. And Jane pipes up, "I can, by their actions."

3049. Myra's confession that she's eating stale toast out of the trash.

3050. Her crooning to Joe, "You love me, boy."

3051. Lucy's announcement, "Actually, I give my babies PIG milk."

3052. How I ask Jane what she worries most about and she says, "Like if something happened to my family."

3053. Little Joe slung over my shoulder like a newborn sack of potatoes.

3054. The most wonderful professional photos of Joe taken by my sweet sister-in-law.

3055. How Lucy procures a pair of baby sunglasses and wears them around for the day. "These are really nice," she says, "even though they have some toothpaste on them."

3056. How the strange migraine symptoms my dad has turn out to just be migraine symptoms.

3057. Avocado salad with cabbage and cilantro.

3058. Ham.

3059. Two new changing covers sewn by hand, wrapped in yellow rickrack, and hand delivered over a thousand miles. And the hands that made them.

3060. How Lucy comes a step closer to understanding germs. "Germs are as little as a roley-poley," she says.

3061. A bouquet of yarn and knitting needles and pages and pages of baby hats in every color.

3062. Jack's explanation of how I salted the popcorn. "I guess you just like lots of salt when you're recovering from pregnancy," he says.

3063. How he hugs me at bedtime and reaches around my shoulders to hug Jane too. "I love you, too," he whispers in her ear.

3064. And how he whispers in my ear, "I could do this forever," and we hug tight.

3065. Learning again to stop and look our children in the eye every time they need.

3066. Having to tell Jane for the first time, "Stop reading and listen to me."

3067. Myra coming around to her sweet self as we redefine the boundaries again.

3068. How when the kitchen gets harried with dinner preparation, Jane slips away to draw a picture. It says, "We are happy. I love my family."

3069. Craig steady as ever, the rudder of this ship. And how he makes my every worry look small.

3070. Learning to sustain myself in scripture. Again. And again. Everyday.


  1. that last one- #3070- me too.

  2. The photos are amazing! I especially love the one of the 5 children together...and the color one of Baby Joe in his elf hat.

  3. Rudder of the ship--completely under water--makes it easy to forget about how essential it is; how dependent we are on that strength, power and wisdom. A good husband. It effects everything.

    A good wife and mommy. Wind in the sails.

  4. You are a very honoring wife and what a lovely analogy of him as a rudder... that is great. Mine helps calm my worry storms all to often as well. What glorious things husbands can be!

  5. Such sweetness here out of the mouths of babes! Hunting bears? I live in bear country, send that boy over! Enjoy your time with these sweet blessings. I miss those days! Have a great week looking for even more eucharisteos!

  6. Thanks for sharing your photos. The last one was my favorite, but I loved the one's with you holding him as well. Such sweet blessings you have there!

  7. the pics are AMAZING!!! and my fave is the one of all the kids together - so adorable. you are such a good mommy! would love to come visit soon! xoxo

  8. If Dad can handle the dark...
    soooo precious :)
    Love your pics and list, as usual.
    How are YOU doing, dear momma?