"Mom?" Jack taps my elbow. "Mom?" he punctures the factory line of tasks running through my mind. I stifle, Who left their breakfast bowl out? and instead swivel past freckled boy and shuffle an oatmeal canister into the cupboard, a bowl into another white bowl into the sink.
"Yeah?" I say and deliberately look away from the butter dish, the butter knife a tilting twig defying gravity, and the honey jar still on the counter.
His eyes roving spotlights of affections, he captures me. Tethered there between a fork and two knives propped on the sink and spindrift oatmeal on the floor, I fetter in the wind of rapport, that niggling thing of love there between us. The seesawing ocean of a day, and his eyes anchor us.
"I'm gonna need to bring THIS on my date with you," he says. He swaths the air with a khaki wallet, a kelly green stripe past the snap, the awkward arc as he jabs the air due to an enormous amount of change dumped in the credit card slots.
We scurry the afternoon into a decent knot and head out.
We heave into the Dairy Queen parking lot, the whole suburban a sigh around us, the pavement radiant black under our tires.
I slip out of the front seat, pull his door open. "Ya ready?"
The seatbelt limp at his elbow, he palms that wallet, gunny-sack-brown. He leaps down over a teddy bear and Jane's green sweatshirt invisible there wedged next to a Noah's Ark color book on the floor mat.
"Mom, I need to get my wallet in my pocket," he reports, "so it will be a minute or two."
So I wait, there in the resplendent heat, his mannish features chiseled sharper than even a day ago, the sensibility of the wallet all obvious and ethereal. He grabs my hand; we walk in.
With the tug of his hand I see it: his desire to provide, that seed of manhood, masculine, confident. I let him lead, that image of his father unmistakable like the cache of coins in his wallet.
4543. "Mom?" Jack pounds on the bathroom door, piano practice temporarily stopped. "Mom, I wasn't doing music writing. I was doing worship."
4544. "I kind of regret putting on all the salsa," Jack comments on his burrito. "I'm putting on other stuff to try and change its personality."
4545. The Tuesday Girls pool questions and philosophy, theology and the everyday, and eat salad, cherry pecan green salad.
4546. I collapse under a migraine explosion. The children dismantle the plastic play-slide structure. They build a boat from the pieces and sail the back lawn while I sleep.
4547. Finally, I resurface, sit on the lead boat. "Mom, it's sort of hard to drive the boat when you're sitting there," Myra says.
4558. Jane and I alter clothes together.
4559. I mend one of Craig's dress shirts and a pair of his jeans.
4560. We break the news: raccoons broke in and ate all the adult chickens. The children nod like veteran farmers, sigh, move on. Craig does triage on the chicken yard.
4561. New dye! We prepare for another round of dying and refreshing.
4562. We celebrate my dad's and little brother's birthdays, steaks and the fresh retelling of their admirable qualities. We linger in the whirl of celebration, children gathered at our elbows.
4563. Iris roots, a whole bag of them waits for their new home in my garden.
4564. An old farm table. Pete and Rose let us keep their old table for them. We set it up in the schoolroom and the whole room orbits around it.
4565. Craig takes us to the park for a morning walk. I jangle through the ashtray for parking-meter-change. "I wish I would've brought my money," Jack leans over to Lucy, "so then I could help Mom."
4566. Craig and I celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary, every year terra firma under our feet.
4567. Father's Day. I reflect on the great happiness I have from the love and wisdom of my father and the great strength Craig has from his.
4568. I find afresh the familiar realization: happiness flows from belonging, that deep bedrock belonging, membership in the kingdom of God, and the unexpected pleasure that every moment is in place.