"It's Reformation Day. Happy Reformation Day everybody!" Bluster and cheer, my words trumpet up the stairs and scatter across the oak floor. Jane and Lu poke their heads around the top stair.
I jetty up the wooden steps, each footfall a hollow thump. "Hey, Happy Reformation Day!" The unlikely marriage of loud and cheerful the children stare, then grin.
"What's that mean?" Jane jaunts, "that the house smells like bleach?" Teehee, we titter and sniggle.
Later, apportioned at the north end of the old black couch, knees snaggled up, Bible propped on top, Jane unravels more of Revelation. I dump moppy pools from breakfast bowls, scrape oatmeal off with my fingernails, squirt blue Dawn in the frying pan, suds off oil.
"I want to tell you something I just noticed here," Jane lilts and traces the page's face. "God," she pokes a word I can't see, "like a fake god, isn't capitalized."
I lean back from the sink and face her directly, memorize her all folded up like a ladder there on the couch. "Yup." I lean back, slide another square white bowl into the dishwasher, "It's true."
So I slog more dishes from sink to washer, suited up in the fatigues of motherhood. Reformation Day, fake gods, capitalization, here, on the front lines we wage the war of knowledge. I mostly just watch, put the props in place, bear wittiness -- watch the holy unfold.
3744. "Mommy, you drippy-drippy," Myra pats my wet running jersey.
3745. "Mom," Lucy shakes off a polka-dot cupcake liner, "I might wash this off when I'm done and put it on for a hat."
3746. Tuesday-girls. Sisters-in-law gather at Mom's. Prayer, we link arms afresh, and I realize how alone I've felt.
3747. We pray before school. "Jesus, please speak to us and help us to think about you all day," Lucy prays.
3748. "No, we're not going to play with that today," I pluck the screeching recorder out of Myra's hands. Jane wrinkles her chin. "That is the best I have see you handle that," she nods.
3749. Winter chili, cheddar, popcorn, peach crisp, apple pie, round-robin conversation and laughs: another Reformation Day comes and goes.
3750. I tell Jack that people steal crocodile eggs and hatch them in zoos. "Yeah, people do weird things these days," he says.
3751. Mom and I finally unroll enough skeins of conversation to catch up. I trace her footsteps half around the globe and memorize her clear eyes and rainless voice, the gentle lull of listening.
3752. Rotisserie chicken, sweet potato fries, cranberry salad, chuckles, chortles, fractures of laughter, Christmas music, conversation like the circle of a ferris wheel, almond cake: friends, Jesus, thank-you for friends.
3753. A sorely needed night on the farm we unspool the evening in conversation and winter soup, a spread of which I brought nothing to except myself: the gift of family, I drink it in.
3754. "I peed in my bed," Myra confesses. "What?" I blink. "Yeah, I peed," she nods. "What?" I persist. "You still loving me," she grins.
3755. "I tooted," Myra announces at the table, "Bless you!"
3756. A Christmas sweater! O glory, a Christmas sweater that I plan to wear all season. Let the celebration begin.
3757. We trundle out of the car this morning. "I don't go to church to learn about Jesus," Jane tells Lucy. "I learn about Jesus every day. I go to church to teach others about Jesus."
3758. "I didn't look, but your judgement is always good," Jane says when I ask if she wants more garbanzos in her bowl.
3759. "Jesus, help us to know you and love you more every day," Lucy prays.
3760. "Want to scratch my pillow and make a funny noise?" Jack offers.
3761. "Mommy, your coat's on backwards," Myra persists, her green stretch pants inside out and backwards.
3761. Craig brings home ten pounds of apples and his old easy smile.
3762. I remind myself how what a prize I have in him.