"Mom, we're called the Zee Company because we're catching soooo many BEES," Lucy pants. She holds up an empty salsa jar, yellow jacket squirming near the lip.
"Wow." I arch my eyebrows, nod, toss a lone flip-flop onto a bluff of shoes marooned at the back door. "Looks good, " I say.
"Yeah, we catched soooo many BEES." She initiates the nightly epic, a libretto of battles and intrigue, jars and jars and more jars of bees captured. "SO many, Mom."
"We only just caught seriously bald-face hornets," Jack joins in. He whisks by, a peanut butter jar under one arm.
"Momma, can I have a drink?" Myra lopes into the kitchen. She wrestles open the third drawer on the left. I scuff dried oatmeal off a dish, then toss it in the dishwasher, again. Myra plucks a beryl blue bowl from the cacophony in the drawer. "Mom, can I have a drink," she says, bowl clutched to her chest.
"Yes." I frown at three spoons and a butter knife, dishwasher dregs dried and flaking off. I toss them back in the dishwasher. I glance at Myra. She blinks, grins as if her limbs were noodle-numb. Our eyes sync.
"Um, you may not use a bowl," I say. "Get a cup."
Blink-blink, "Oh. Ok."
The evening skitters on, sleep, finally, like a stone gliding over the water.
The next day, already in motion when I roust my tired self and woo her to wake, tumbles forward under my feet: an avalanche of moments. They clatter together like the engine of a porsche, perfect precision, music. I hold my breath, exhale, savor the adrenaline of spending myself.
"Mom. Mom," Myra charges, "I'm gonna draw a picture of you snugglin' with me." She waves a white sheet of paper like a victory flag. "It's gonna be perfect," she says. "I'm gonna work at my workstation."
We nod in tandem, me, silent for all the words tied up inside, breathless, mute, anchored there at the farm table with me. Her blue eyes alight and flutter, earnest orbs, love.
If a swagger can be completely void of vanity and instead just fullness of heart, a swelling with each step -- she swaggers off as if the motion of the day were inside and spilling out at each stride.
I trace the stride with my eyes, memorize the happy purity, the wholeheartedness. Like a stocking snagged from toe to top, I am undone. The knots slacken. The day contracts and fractures my relentless pace.
4814. Joe starts walking.
4815. Purple running jersey. Need I say more?
4816. Barn spider, belly bigger than the old steely marbles.
4817. Cucumber grape salad with coconuts and pecans.
4818. Art lessons. The kids draw cinnamon-sugar donuts.
4819. Purple yarn.
4820. Almond filled croissants.
4821. Miss Jamie. We pray for Miss Jamie. She wakes up from her brain bleed and begins recovery.
4822. Sign language, and the garden.
4823. The children balk at regular chores, so we skip Saturday recreation and host a family work day. The children cry with anticipation. They sulk. They blame. They sandbag. And they finally rise to the occasion. On wings of endurance, the day soars. And though they miss lunch, they miraculously thank Jesus for the wonderful day working together.
4824. Another chalkboard. Craig makes our schoolroom complete with another green chalkboard. Then he hauls out an old vanity and bumper pool table that never really fit quite right.
4825. A friend offers him tickets to the WSU game. Seats on the 40 yard line, Craig and a buddy take theirs sons to the game.
4826. I fetch some canning jars downstairs and return to find Joe eating out of the butter dish.
4827. Peach rum sauce, boiled and candied to perfection.
4828. I visit with an acquaintance, but shrink inside when she talks down to her husband. I wonder what I should say to her.
4829. I peek in on Lucy. She hums while she dresses her babies.
4830. "I like your face when you smile like that," Myra says and points to a photo of me.
4831. She chooses a blutterfly sticker for her chore chart.
4832. "Jesus, please make us love you more every year, every season, every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Amen," Jane prays before bed.
4833. "Jesus, please help Mrs. Short's cancer to get healed. And, please help us to be able to tell other people about God," Lucy prays. "Amen."