"I'll take care of this later." Jack balances the remains of last night's reading. A tower of picture books and early readers, it slumps over the alarm clock as he eases it onto the dresser.
"You have to take care of those, you know," I say.
"I know. I'll do it later."
"'Cause I want to have this special time with you," he says.
The rest of the children all abustle getting ready for bed. Jack's first and so we curl up on the bottom bunk to chat.
"So what's your favorite Bible story?" I twist the slack ends of my hair all a-muss around me. I wrap them around my index finger. They spring loose straight and smooth.
He gazes off, all far away and relaxed. "Adam and Eve," he replies. "Wanna know why?"
"Yeah." I thought he was going to say David and Goliath. But he blinks, a grin just out of sight. I watch the unselfconscious blue of his eyes.
"'Cause it shows how POWERFUL God is," He says. "And that we should obey him." He shrugs as if replaying the obvious.
"Yeah, that's true," I nod. Simple. Power. We let this rest there between us for a minute, mark time with the leisure gate of his words.
"There are other stories of how powerful God is," he says. "But, it's like Let there be LIGHT. He's really POWERFUL, like what he can DO." Unmistakable. In broad strokes he fleshes out the POWER of God. A man-child, I realize he traces the silhouette of power in each story.
Power, a canopy of refuge.
4077. Myra flicks the dust-buster off. "Mommy, look at me," she says. "I'm a big help. I'm able to turn this off."
4078. Jack listens to David and Goliath unabridged over and over and over.
4079. "Am I a DOG that you come at me with sticks?!" Goliath shouts. Jane drops her math book and scampers off the the bedroom. "I've gotta hear this part," she calls back to me.
4080. I change Joey and toss the diaper in the pail. "Can I put those in the dishwasher?" Myra offers.
4081. Sweet Zeke makes another trip to the ER and returns once again good as new.
4082. Dear friends buy a house they have waited and waited and waited on.
4083. The kids leave m&ms on my pillow.
4084. Bean soup and apple crisp, we make an evening with my parents.
4085. "Ok," I say, "I'm gonna do cause and effect. I slept long enough. Something caused that. What CAUSED that?" The children all blink back at me. "You forgot to set your alarm," Jane replies.
4086. Mom carves out time to talk with me, talk, life giving conversation.
4087. The quest for fabric continues. Now a menagerie of fruit fabric begins the transformation into Easter skirts. Oh joy, sweaters, shirts, and leggings to match.
4088. Another gallery opening, this time it's Jane, Jack and me, and we make an evening of it.
4089. Craig turns 40. We have a party on the farm, a perfect party on the farm. The afternoon rolls out slow and leisure, long fallow acres of contentment.
4090. "Jesus, thank-you that we have Daddy turning forty today," Jane prays.
4091. "I'm just really thirsting and hungering for a good book," she comments later that night.
4092. Flexiflyer. Art, pure art.
4093. Jack and I go on a date. Craig tutors him before we leave on how to take a lady on a date: Protect her. Open doors for her. Make conversation. "It's all part of leading," Craig tells him.
4094. We eat lemon loaf and sip a steamer, them buy a whole stack of second hand books for our library.
4095. "If you see an animal's teeth," Lucy says, "they would be really dirty 'cause they never brush their teeth. They probably have LOTS of cavities."
4096. Oranges. We find oranges for 18 cents a pound.
4097. Hand-me-downs. A whole bag full of hand-me-downs, the kind you can wear right out of the bag.
4098. Four of us downtrodden with colds and fevers, Myra a river of snot, a barking-dog-of-a-cough, and still the comfort of being together resonates through the house. At each turn, whether extended or immediate, the comfort of family gives strength to these weary bones.