"Joe-Joe I'm bigger 'an you," Myra jabs Joey's shoulder.
He teeters, grips my pant leg. Those chubby arms wobble. He blinks, blinks again, flashes a grin.
"Can I carry him?" Myra wants, her back arched in bigness, eyes fixated on the tottering Joe.
Joe grunts, shillyshallys his head. Knock-kneed, feet gradually spreading, he bobbles his head to Myra.
"Just so you know, I'm bigger 'an him," Myra adds again. "Want me to get him him's toys?" she says.
She thump-thumps off and returns, Lucy's metal mixing bowl full of Lego men, Peter Pan's pirates, a duckie rattle, bumper cars, Jack's gold metal. They thumble-bumble, clank, a riot of noise, bliss. Joey shouts hurrah, a clatter embrace.
And then I offer the prize. "Myra, Myra," I say, "want to do a really, really big-kid thing to help me?" I widen my eyes as big as I can. She leans in, opens her eyes so wide the white shows around those azure irises.
"What?" she staccatos.
I blink-blink, let the bigness rise like helium in a birthday balloon. "Myra, do you want to put the diapers in the dryer for me?"
I pause, but before I can even blink, "Yeah-sure." It's one word, the one-word command that means: it's mine, I'll do it, I want it, nothing will stop me. And like that, she's off, a rubber band released from a gun.
Flop-mop, flop-mop, she lugs the limp diapers from washer to dryer, swats them in. "I'm washing your diapers, Joe," she shouts to the wild boy at my feet.
Legs crossed, I swing my toe to the happy cadence of the afternoon. Sun a deluge through the window, I let the afternoon wash in.
And then it's dinner, bbq and leftovers. Myra falls fast asleep at the table. Curled up on the bench, we find her when we clear the dishes. The day settles, soft as a sigh, all the right things in place.
4385. Myra feeds Joe a banana while we do school.
4386. We break for lunch and take a bike ride with cousins.
4387. I roust Joe for the day. Myra fiddles with the bedroom doorknob, then whispers through the crack. "Forgive me for playing wiff your make-up bag," she says.
4388. I tuck her in for the night. "Boogers are ewie," she says. "I'm not eatin' them. I'm wiping them on my bluie-blankie."
4389. Rosie gives the Tuesday Girls manicures with gel nail polish. My nails look perfect all week.
4390. Taco salad and chocolate.
4391. We sup with dear friends. We rototill the garden patch, map the sprinkler system, and finish with chili and cornbread, chocolate cheesecake, the evening long, our friendship a wide, deep river.
4392. Paint! We get paint for the living room and kitchen, the bathrooms, maybe a bedroom, spring green and a whole garden spectrum.
4393. A lovely friend brings us coconut and oat encrusted walnuts, sweet, sweet walnuts. We visit the afternoon away.
4394. Pot roast, adobo seasoning, carrots and sweet onions, fresh baked bread, the children exhausted, we encircle the table with tender conversation, the food a gift, the conversation communion.
4395. I exchange my new black tennies for the perfect size.
4396. Jack takes me on a date. He buys watermelon seeds.
4397. Pete and Rosie join us for burgers and Canasta. They both make us laugh.
4398. Craig guts the garage. Organization ensues. It's like walking on water.
4399. A white and sea green sweater.
4400. Miss Lynne brings the kids kaleidoscopes from Alabama. "Oh Mommy," Jane gushes, "I couldn't stop from gasping, this is so pretty."
4401. I splatter a jar of plum sauce on the kitchen floor and then take Miss Lynne's advice: snap a picture. It pierces the chagrin.
4402. "Jesus, please bless us so we can go to church and be on time," she prays.
4403. Lucy pieces a puzzle while we listen to Perelandra. The whole time she hums.
4404. I knit the last row on Joey's sweater! Now just ears, buttons, and pom-pom.
4405. Jane feeds Joey oatmeal while I get Myra ready for church.
4406. We eat lunch with volunteers, then glide in for Sunday naps. Everyone slows including me.
4407. Gramma calls for Jack. She has more watermelons planted in the greenhouse.
4408. Jack offers new ideas on how to plan our week, good ideas.
4409. "Who wants to have a sword fight with me?" he asks as he pulls a carrot from the bag. "I will," Craig offers. Mirth follows and a broken carrot.
4410. The loose embrace of a new week greets us. We link arms and set out.