"Daddy knows practically everything," I say and shake out a fitted sheet. I try to fold it. It wags and flaps, folds itself into a rumpled ball.
"Daddy knows everything," Jane adds and licks a blob of blackberry jelly off the edge of her sandwich, "except what he doesn't know." Reclined at the table, she licks a smudge of jelly off her finger.
"Yeah," Jack nods. He chatters with sandwich wadded in his cheek, "Like Daddy probably knows how many worms are in the whole world."
We nod and carry on.
"I went and checked on the bird," Lucy joins, "and his eyes were aiten out." She arches her eyebrows. I add a washcloth to the stack of towels. A sparrow split into our window yesterday, the sky-blue reflection a perfect match. "And there were ants on it," she adds. "I think the ants ate his eyes. I hope he went in heaven."
We nod, carry on.
We clatter the dishes to the kitchen, load the dishwasher, wipe the tables.
"Momma, no pressure," Janie says, "but I could bring up some leggos if you want to play with them."
Play. "Sure." We scatter and bluster leggos over the black tabletop. We build an olympic swimming pool and pretend athletes dive and race.
Myra pees in her little potty. We cheer and gambol. I award a tiny chocolate chip, and she gives everyone a teeny tiny bite.
Friends return home, now five years gone in Europe. We encircle our dining room. Round scoops of peanut butter ice cream and melted chocolate sauce, roasted pecans, a harvest of children, we ebb and flow, trace the silhouette of friendship.
"What did you like about each one," I catch Jane's eye as we wipe the counters and scuffle silverware and bowls away.
"Hmm," she tilts her head, squints, "I don't know, but I liked how their boys were so kind."
So kind. We nod again, share the slow curve a smile.
We weave the day down to a tail end. Children plop into bed, a museum of pillows and stuffed animals, blankets of all sizes. They wait for prayer.
"Me, me," Myra calls from her bed, "self."
"You want to pray yourself?"
"Yeah." We close our eyes. We wait. And wait. We peek at her squinted shut eyes, hands folded and burrowed into her forehead. "Jesus," she says. "Jesus." We listen. "Died for me," she plods, "Amen."
"Amen." We wind the day down to a single thread: amen.
3412. Joe turns four months.
3413. Myra eats a grape in 20 tiny bites. "There choco in there," she says.
3414. Apple hand sanitizer, I buy it for Lucy on a date. "Mom," she tells me, "I real quick before it ran out, added water to my hand sanitizer."
3415. Jane gets in trouble and explains, "I know why I didn't do it: 'cause I wasn't strong."
3416. Myra hugs me. "You 'pecial," she says.
3417. I ask Jane how she likes her World Magazine. "It was saying," she tells me, "that when the government prints more money, they are actually stealing from you."
3418. I read in a book about the Amish: You're only as rich as the things you can live without. I describe it to the kids. "Yeah," Jane says, "So don't tell Daddy if you really want something because he would probably buy it for you."
3419. "Momma, you pretty," Myra says.
3420. "Momma, you funny arms," she adds.
3421. We throw a baby shower for Libby over at Mom's. We shout surprise then linger under the big tree out front. I let down my guard and let it flap in the wind. We continue to entwine prayer week to week.
3422. We barbecue burgers and lick ice cream comes and round out the summer with Mom and Dad.
3423. Our niece babysits while Craig and I attend a conference together.
3424. She sticks to our daily schedule and delights our kids. They are calm and happy when we return. I see she has been a good leader.
3425. We lunch with a cadre of Craig's volunteers. Conversation carries the day and we mingle over ideas like how discipline and creativity are interdependent.
3426. Godiva Chocolate Pearls.
3427. We join the staff of my dad's office at a local bistro. Over a burger that drips to my elbows, I take note of the rapport they have one for another and glean wisdom from their experience.
3428. I ask Jack how we could make the night wonderful. "We could bring cucumbers," he says, to Gramma's house, "so she doesn't have to pick any out of her garden. Maybe we should bring two."
3429. We eat dinner down on the farm with Ma and Pa and all the kids and cousins. Between food and conversation, the lingering between wheat fields, a bike ride, we leave full to the brim.
3430. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. I ask Janie what the verse means. "If you think about things that are evil," she says, "you will start to love evil even though you are reading your Bible."
3431. Jack scares the birds out of the garden with his cap gun.
3432. Joe spots me from across the room and splits a smile.
3433. "God won't do what ya want sometimes," Lucy tells me, "even though you ask him. It's 'cause he does stuff that is way better."
3434. "Hard days are the best," Gabby Douglas says, "because that's where champions are made. If you push through the hard days, you get through anything."
3435. Diligence. The wreath of champions. I gather the reins for another day and pray for diligence, faithfulness in the small that I may one day be worthy of more.