"I want to go home to our real home." Jane's voice glides on alto wings, soft in the coal black night.
Still, in the hush of a long drive home, I smile. "Ya mean not our fake home?" I banter. Craig chuckles. I stretch my smile long and feel the pleasant tug fill my face.
"Yeah," she counters. The rolling marbles of mirth settle. Street lights, apricot orange in the soot black sky, whisk past.
"Where's our fake home?" Craig probes.
"It's where we're going now." Her face an open peony, she glances at Joey, strapped into the carseat at her elbow. She plucks up the slumber-limp hand, wraps his tiny fingers around her thumb.
"Where's our real home?" he returns.
"Heaven." She waves Joe's hand then glances at Craig in the rearview mirror. She looks away; he glances at her; I watch them both. The ordinary moves of conversation unfold.
"I pray for Jesus to come back," I add and look away before they see me spying.
"You mean before--" her words enfold in the strum of Joy To The World full and acoustic in the suburban.
"What?" I turn to face her, capture her words.
"You mean before a loaf of bread costs more than a day's pay?" she says audible now above joyous strum of guitar.
As she replies, I replay the words, press them flat in my mind. Revelation 6. "Yeah," I say. A loaf of bread for a day's wage. I let the long view of the world fill my mind as we sail on home.
4001. "I got all my Christmas wrapping done before," Jane sing-songs, Christmas Eve just begun, "so I could be like, ok, let's just enjoy the Christmas Recess."
4002. We celebrate the birth of Jesus with family, exchange gifts, enjoy the camaraderie of people we love.
4003. "Momma, watch this," Myra chirps. "I'm walking on my tip-toes. Yeah," she nods at the cool-ness of it.
4004. "Mom, what's gonna be for lunch?" Jack asks. "I hope it's just nutmeg logs," he dreams.
4005. Myra promenades past Joe and me shored up on the couch. She stops, observes him nursing. "Momma, Joe's trying to get milk out of there," she concludes.
4006. I meet up with my mom, and we chatter a morning away -- grocery shopping and coffee the perfect backdrop.
4007. Fennel. Ginger root. Peanut sauce. Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning. Great spices make beans delicious.
4008. We make more peppermint bark popcorn.
4009. "Mom, we're gonna play Narnia today," Lucy announces. "And I've got a gun, and Jack's got a bow and arrow."
4010. Friends invite the whole lot of us to dinner. Italian beef on ciabatta rolls, angel food and berries-n-cream, coffee, conversation that weaves and encircles the belly-laughs of our children, the night blesses us.
4011. I confess to the kids that back in ancient Egypt the children actually didn't wear clothes. "Do you think they still do that from tome to time in Egypt today?" Jack wants to know.
4012. Myra dog-piles Craig, wallops Jack in the ear. "Oh, watch out!" I call. "What do you say when you accidentally kick someone in the head?" She straightens up. "Thank-you," she says.
4013. We continue our talk of heaven. "Then I can see Corrie ten Boom," Janie says, "and Uncle Kevin and Ronald Reagan."
4014. We come to rest after a month of celebration and find strength for the new year has gathered and grown, a secret underneath our feet.