"Who is the smartest person you know?"
"Ok, well, besides Jesus."
Halfway around a little bistro table, Jack cocks his head. His elbows propped on the thumbnail-sized table, he leans a tiny bit and cobbles drinks and colored pencils. "Well Daddy IS really smart," he recovers, eyebrows arced over blue irises.
I ignore the clanked pencils still all corralled on the table. "Is he the smartest person you know?"
He pokes at the colors. Their enamel surfaces chink against each other. "I know who Logan and Thad think is the smartest person," he says. "Their dad."
He jaunts around the table, lucent green in hand, and sits down back at my elbow. "Maybe everyone thinks their dad is the smartest," I say.
He swishes green onto the bristol paper. "Yeah," he says. "'Cause their like, 'My dad is the smartest. He's an engineer, and he fixed the dishwasher.' And I'm like, 'No, My dad is.'"
"I thought your Daddy fixed the dishwasher."
He polishes the viridian on in bumpy strokes. "Their dad did too."
"Oh. Well, I guess fixing the dishwasher is a Dad job." He doesn't look up, just scritch-scratches more teal green out on the paper.
Still I weave the strands. We practices the moves. He orders his own caramel steamer, thanks the baristas, clears the table, throws away trash. He tells me who the smartest person in the world is. I watch a small masculine seed burgeon and grow, germinate, sprout.
Confidence and affection, I note his unfettered stride.
4238. Jane tries to teach Myra how to throw a football. "Myra's sort of wearing off the smiles," she says.
4239. Jane confesses: she was up until 11:20pm reading.
4240. "One of the reasons that I like to read," she says, "is I think about the book and let it roll over my mind and think, Is it good or bad, and then I go to bed."
4241. The Tuesday Girls eat sweet potato soup, Irish tea, and chocolate at mom's.
4242. I discover the fast way to hard boil eggs: in muffin tins.
4243. "Dat is Jesus," Myra points to a red dot she drew. "I doo-ed a lot of those," she says.
4244. "Why you want Jane and Jack to work hard?" she asks. "Everyone's supposed to work hard," I tell her. "Do you?" She shakes her head, "No. Daddy doo-ed that for me."
4245. A friend and her one-year-old boy come over. The afternoon blustery and gray, we make a splendid walk to the park. We linger in conversation.
4246. Dad and Mom come for dinner. Cherry-pecan-feta salad carries the night.
4247. "I like cinnamon sugar," Myra says. "It gets on your mouf -- all the way on your cheeks." She holds up the remains of cinnamon sugar toast.
4248. Jane makes eggs for lunch. Everyone helps.
4249. We acquire more bookshelves for our library.
4250. We wade through more ancient myths. "This one's not really REAL," Lucy says, "'cause it started with ONCE UPON A TIME."
4251. I show Jack how to make up his own sheet of math computation. "Where you gonna be most of the time?" he asks, notebook under arm, "'cause I'm gonna be wherever you are doing math problems."
4252. Myra sees one of the hens relieve herself. "The chicken pooped on her fedder," she frowns. "I know, isn't that sad?" I say. "That's not SAD," Lucy pipes up, "It's not DEAD. That'd be WAY sadder."
4253. "When I was five I went to Jesus' house," Myra brags. She turns three in May.
4254. I start a sock monster.
4255. We make the semi-annual visit to a dentist we love.
4256. New shorts. I have a new pair of shorts for summer.
4257. I ask Jack who in the Bible really honored God. "Noah," he says, "because he gave God whatever he wanted. And Moses because he obeyed God in basically everything he said."
4258. "What do you think is the best age?" I ask him. "Forty," he says, "'cause Miss Lynne says it is."
4259. "What do you think is going to happen in the world?" I continue. "I hope something good," Jack remarks.
4260. And finally, "What do you think is the most important thing to teach in school?" I say. "Probably," he responds, "love your enemies."
4261. The whole clan gathers for another wrestling match weekend.
4262. Craig's mom takes Jane on a date. "Gramma teaches me to be generous," she says. "That was a fun time. It was spectacular. It's just so fun being with her."
4263. I putter around the kitchen. Jane traipses in. "I guess you didn't see this," she says and points to a scrap of brown paper bag hung on the fridge with a magnet. Please come have a party outside with us.
4264. We pray before bed and Jack closes, "And Jesus, thank-you that we don't live in a country where they burn up all the Bibles. Amen."
4265. We celebrate Andrew turning 10. Orange party streamers and balloons, family gathered, it's perfect.
4266. Jack bobbles into Myra. "OWIE," she protests. "Oh, are you ok?" he stops and gives her full attention. "Yeah," she quells and points to the owie, "KISS it."