"I got hurt. I hurt myself." Myra coos, opalescent light from the kitchen window full on her face, the massive old desk shackled with papers the backdrop.
"Oh." I still the whisk in hand, prop it in the balsamic marinade. "Where?"
"Right, right," she furrows her eyebrows, searches both knees pokes one, then finally settles on a freckle of a scuff. "Right, here," she points to a pin-pock of a mark. We both stare, her waiting for me to be impressed, me waiting for me to be impressed. "Can I have a bandaid," she says.
"No," I stick to my rule: the placebo properties of bandaids go to owies that bleed. I shake my head. She aims her blue eyes hard into my face as if to change my mind. "But," I offer, "you can have a kiss."
She blinks back. I blink too, her encircled in the opaline light as if on stage as if waiting for the next line. "Ok," she says. Still, we both stand there as if the line were unfinished.
"So you want a kiss?"
"Yeah," one head dip of a nod. I nod back, crouch down on all fours, gather my lips in a pucker.
"I was in the mouse trap by the chickies," she starts up, internal monologue on auto. And in the sliver of a second before I kiss her knee I replay Craig releasing the close-pin like trap, limp fur dangling, tumbling free. It's a near miss of a kiss, and then I figure what the heck and plan one square on the kneecap.
"Was that how you got hurt?" I say.
"Yeah." She does a kitty cat scuffle around the kitchen, pink mary-janes, purple running shorts, no socks. I grind more pepper for the marinade, add some honey and rosemary. She peeks around my elbow, hangs over the edge of the counter, the cure sinking deeper and deeper. A kiss. A kiss and she's cured.
4430. "So what's the best part of your day?" I ask Jack. "Bein' with you," he volleys back.
4431. Myra turns THREE. We have a cake-pop date.
4432. I ask Myra what makes her happy. "Someone playin' wiff me," she says, "I like playin' wiff you."
4433. 'If monsters bite you tell Jesus," she says, "and Jesus will take care of it. He can tell them NO."
4434. I ask Myra how I can pray for her. "Jesus to take care of me," she says.
4435. "Mom, I put another flower in my bouquet," Jack calls, "'cause one of them was crumpling, and I had to throw it away."
4436. Craig uses the metaphor of a plow horse to describe his leadership. So true. I'm so blessed.
4437. I tell Jane I love running clothes because it almost feels like I'm wearing nothing. Her stride all sing-song, her tone serious she replies, "Ah, no it doesn't. I would feel very ashamed if I was wearing nothing. It just feels like wearing really comfy pajamas."
4438. We have a family birthday party for Myra. She grins wide as a laughing zebra.
4439. "Why did it feel like a hundred weeks for Rockie to get her cast off?" Lucy reflects on Rockie's valiant endurance. (And Jesse and Libby's!)
4440. The kids unbuckle their carseats. I open the backdoor to unload and find Myra nose to nose with Joe. "Joey, my sweet one, my sweet one," she croons.
4441. We eat ham salad at Mom's and sit in the shade. I sew buttons on Joey's monkey sweater. I reflect on the gift of my mother. Wide and long and never-ending, her love is the circle of the horizon dividing earth and sky.
4442. Grandad takes Myra out for donuts. The baker lets her take home a lug of doughnut dough. The kids kneed it all morning in Myra's toy mixer.
4443. "I wonder what God made us out of," Myra chatters while the kids wash their hands. "Oh, I know what he made us out of: DIRT," Lucy chatters back. "Dust," Jack adds. "Yeah, DUST," Lucy says.
4444. "When there's a baby in a mom's tummy and the baby is not out yet, it means God is still making the shape of the baby," Lucy explains to Myra.
4445. We make coconut ice cream, a whole gallery of helpers to taste at each step.
4446. "Mom, we need some stuff that is YUMMY," Myra suggests and points to a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
4447. We read the beginning of Shakespeare's As You Like It (kid's version) and Jane grins like a whole ball of string unrolled. "I sort of liked that he beat the professional wrestler," she says. "I think he probably needed that to humble himself."
4448. "I'm bigger 'an him," Myra comments on Joe. "He's gonna be bigger than you," I say. "No him's not," she says. "Yeah," I say. "I'm gonna be on a stool; then I'll be bigger," she says.
4449. "I can jump off big walls," Myra says and leaps off the garden retaining wall.
4450. Cousins come over to play. Tag, Simon Says, and Weatherman ensue under a blanket of sprinkler water.
4451. Mom comes over to draw and sip coffee, eat pastries and soak in the sun. We review the highs and lows of the week, note the Lord's hand in all.
4452. We review numbers in ASL and chat with Miss Lynne.
4453. We attend the Mother/Daughter Tea down in Craig's hometown. We spin another year in tradition. I win a petunia. The night means a lot to us all. The mother of my husband is a perfect pearl of a woman, a treasure.
4454. We take Lucy to donuts for her birthday. Lucy is FIVE.
4455. I remember to tell Craig the car is making a grinding noise when you press the breaks.
4456. Family from both sides joins us for another party. The influencers. We tell them they are the influencers for our children. They are family. It takes a family, not a village.
4457. I fall into discouragement and Craig pipes up, "Hey, you're our number one scorer," and it really helps.
4458. We get the news that Jude busted his wrist jumping out of a swing. Sweet boy, he makes the trial seem light.
4459. Mother's Day comes and I can't help but think I'm the mother I am because of the man I married: a rock, an anchor, a towering mountain of safety, the king of our castle. I love being a mother for this man's children.
*Special thanks to my sweet momma
for all the birthday pictures.