"I like being down here just me and you." Jack nuzzles my shoulder. I had sneaked downstairs to escape the heat, nurse the baby. Jack had creaked down the wooden stairs a few minutes later.
I flop my magazine down on the green couch next to us. "Me too," I say and kiss the top of his red mop of hair.
"'Cause it's kinda like a date," he says, "except we're not driving anywhere."
"Or getting out treats." He leans his five-year-old cheek on my arm, legs slung to the side as if I were a giant bean bag.
"Just being together is a treat," I say.
"We're getting out the treat of our love." He pats my arm.
He leans his cheek on my shoulder, then wipes a pool of baby spit off, rubs it on his shorts. "You smell all sweaty and good," he says.
I rest my cheek on his head, "Thanks." I fumble my magazine back open.
He points at words he can spell, pokes the and god and asks what w-r-i-t-e means. He tugs Joe's foot, strokes his toes. He checks between each toe and pulls out fuzzies. "I don't think you even washed this part of his foot since he was born," he says, wipes the fuzzies on the couch.
I stop trying to keep my place in the article and just listen to his voice.
3282. Jane reads her Bible and comments, "There's a lot of God talking in this part, that's why I like Matthew."
3283. Lucy plops down beside me and announces, "Fake teeth hurt."
3284. I burn a cookie sheet of pecans. "Other people might think they're disgusting," Janie comforts, "but we'll eat 'em."
3285. "What are the Smiths' last name," Jack wants to know.
3286. We attend an old time barbecue for the 4th of July with family and neighbors complete with a whole table of salads and field games for the kids.
3287. A dear friend brings her children to play and we catch up on a whole year of talking while the children shyly pal around.
3288. Jack takes a spill on our chain link fence, a puncture wound, blood everywhere, and despite terrible bruising, handles it like a man. I love that boy. And he's making a wonderful recovery.
3289. "You want your teeth as white as snow," Lucy warns.
3290. I tuck Myra into bed. "Where Blue are?" she says asking for her blankie.
3291. We take a day on the farm -- cowboy beans, crisp green salad, fresh strawberries on ice cream, visiting around the dinner table.
3292. Jack and Jane go fishing with Craig and his brother. They hardly catch a thing, but the kids play in the water and brothers visit and time stands still for a few hours.
3293. We gather with a small group of friends, eat barbecued hot dogs and more green salad, strawberry salsa, lemonade, let the strain of the week weave light and easy as we talk.
3294. I take Lucy on a date, "Black bears can punch ya in the nose," she tells me.
3295. She scoops a tiny bite of ice cream with a flat paddle spoon, "Mine tastes like red raspberries," she says, "when it's actually PINK raspberries."
3296. Myra calls, "WOOSY!" when she looks for Lucy.
3297. Lucy finishes a lollipop and holds up the stick, "I want to use this as a sword!" she says.
3298. Myra poops in the blue kiddie pool out back. "At first we thought it was just dirt," Jane tells me. Everyone bails out. We hose Myra down and march everyone to the shower. "Myra was laying down in the pool before we found out," Jane tells me later. Surprisingly, I don't freak out.
3299. I devour two novels, a biography, and miscellaneous magazine articles like a tall slices of chocolate ganache. The children watch the spectacle and keep asking what's happening in my books.
3300. Craig comments, "I think worry is a comfort mechanism for you, Bethany."
3301. I think on this and wonder if I can replace the worry with strength and courage.
3302. Craig decides to speak on fear at family camp. "Faith has to replace fear," he says. "Faith, it's where you know God is in control of all things. At some point you just have to completely surrender and give it to God."
3303. I feel the weight of his words and know this is what I need.