"Mom, I want to work really, really hard and get a job," Jack begins, off-hand, fact-like, "so that I can buy a kid's bow and arrow and go turkey hunting with Daddy." Recumbent on bottom bunk, fingers laced behind his head, ankles criss-crossed, he chatters. "That way if Daddy doesn't shoot one at the turkey shoot, he can still have one."
He dreams of pruning the red twigged dogwood, the one out back, twining together a raft. He sketches and maps, pours over books. I suggest he prays for more wood. I tell him make a model first. I fold a white running shirt, black pants. He jabbers. I reconfigure pink tennis shoes and boots blooming out of the closet. He follows me, a yabbering puppy at my heel. "Or," he says all nodding and raised eyebrows, "or I could pray that God makes the boat float really well so it doesn't have to sink in the middle of the river, and I have to swim."
I tuck running clothes in my drawer, pluck an alabaster scarf from my dresser and swirl it around my neck. We trip-trop to the next task, boy dreams all a gust about our ankles.
4015. I make Jane's least favorite soup. "Jesus thank-you that we have enough food to eat," she prays at dinner. "Thank-you for this soup," she pauses and then adds, "even thank-you for the meat. Amen."
4016. "Watch for cars," I tell her when she makes a delivery to Cerissa across the street. "Yep," she says, "I know. You tell me that every time 'cause you love me, and I'm like, I know that."
4017. The new year fresh in front of us, I pause for reflection. "Are you hopeful that we are going to prevail this next year?" I ask Craig. "I'm not hopeful," he responds, "I am confident." Confident. His words encircle the fresh year.
4018. A new hat, soft and celery green. An electric blue running shirt. A trivet in olive wood.
4019. My sweet nephew endures emergency surgery Christmas day to retrieve 26 cents lodged in his throat. He giggles and babbles on and on about the IV pokey mark on his arm.
4020. We spend New Year's Eve afternoon with cousins, coffee and peppermint bark popcorn for grown-ups and friendship deep and wide. The quiet and early evening rolls in silent, steady.
4021. And then it's back to school. "Come on!" Jane calls, "I want to hear some feet thundering." And they commence with Hark The Herald Angels Sing to the tromp of bare feet on hardwoods.
4022. The kids play Uno -- faster and faster. "Now we're getting some confidence under our feet," Jane cheers.
4023. I meet up with mom. We sift through the dust of this new year, compare notes, pray to honor our Lord and Savior.
4024. I trim Jane's fingernails, turn her hand palm up to find I LOVE MOM AND DAD written there.
4025. Cerissa and I compare soup recipes, improvise to no success, compare notes again and resurrect the results.
4026. Lucy gets a horse shirt and wears it every day. She wears a skirt, scarf, and boots to match me.
4027. We share a meal down on the farm: roast beef, salad, ice cream.
4028. Jane practices the alphabet in sign language so she can talk with her friend Josiah. "The kids gasped when I did the whole alphabet," she says and then starts training the other children every night before bed.
4029. The children start a jar of coins to save up for school books. They leave a sticky note on Craig's toothbrush with the total written on it.
4030. We smooth out a few bumps in this freshly fallen year I marvel again at the strength beneath our feet. Thank-you Jesus.