"Mom, I like doing grown-up things," Jane says, dinner splayed around the table. She tilts a white soup bowl, shifts the dregs of rice and chicken, celery and rosemary, into a brothy pool. She rounds out her spoon, slurps it off.
"Yeah?" I spin a black lid off the Bavarian seasoning, shake a dusting over my bowl. I wrestle crackers from a cellophane bag and mound soupy rice onto them. The sea salt crunches between my teeth.
"Even if it's something I don't like doing," she says, "I like it because it means I get to have more privileges."
I lean to see her face around a fucia daliah stemmed in an old milk bottle. "You're starting to think like a grown-up," I say.
"I'd do almost anything to think like a grown-up," she says. I smile, the old halogen lamp casting a yellow glow around the black table.
"You're growing up fast." I murmur. "It's so true. It's just like everyone says."
Someone clatters in looking for jammies, another calls for toothpaste. There at eye level with cracker crumbs and puddles of broth, I pause the scatter, mentally trace this horizon line, this gossamer thread that separates girl and woman.
A silent moment, an imperceptible nod, and we both know it's there: the line.
Then it's Thursday. I bustle past my bedroom, securing the last details of the evening, Jane moored there on my bed reading until she's tired.
"G'd night, Jane," I say.
I slip on an old pair of Craig's socks, grab my knitting.
"I just love this part," she peeks around the corner of Prince Caspian. "It's food to my spirit." I turn to face her, slow the moment. "Let me put it this way," she says, "You can tell it was written by a Christian, and it's really getting to the good part." She nods, grins, sloughs a shoulder up by her ear. "Every part is a good part," she says.
I smile into her azure eyes, the story piquant and permeating the room.
"Yup. Love you."
"Love you too."
With that, she's charioting the story again, memorizing the moves of courage and honor, failure, redemption. Threads of gold, gossamer, filmy, and fine, sheer threads -- I feel them here, again.
It's food for my spirit, she says -- gentle dividing lines, nuances of thought, diaphanous, perfect lines.
My move. I step into the hall, slip past the golden mean, something precise and iridescent behind me.
4882. I catch up on accounting phone calls.
4883. We get at least one day of sign language this week.
4884. We eat tri-tip stew with prime rib broth, the sisters-in-law and I feel like queens on Tuesday at Mom's.
4885. Do Hard Things, we listen to another section: the importance of doing small hard things. I watch Jane soak it in.
4886. Jane bakes apple crisp for Craig and me.
4887. Myra gives me a back rub. "Want to snuggle with one of my babies while I do this?" she asks grin split across her face.
4888. "Wow," Jane comments when Joey takes off wearing only a diaper. "Joey's growing outward," she says.
4889. "My baby's havin' a piggy-back," Myra says, and tosses Olive Sunny up on Lucy's back as we cavort inside after waving at Craig.
4890. Myra hugs me and hiccups in my ear.
4891. Fabric. Polkadots of all kinds. Mom and I go material shopping.
4892. My nephews come over twice in one week. The children run wild with bliss, all nine of them, until their cheeks are peached with fall air and bellies growling for food. We circle up and thank the Lord for all the good in this day. And then we get the good news, their baby sister has been born. Hooray, another life! Glory to God. Congratulations Dan and Cerissa.
4893. Craig and I cuddle up for a date night, knitting, bunchy socks, and apple crisp included.
4894. Joey makes hay with the 25 lb. bag of flour while the cousins are here. Everyone agrees: It's spectacular.
4895. I make matching skirts for Jane and me. Black, white polkadots, the grown-up kind.
4896. Jack wraps his hands around my neck. "Want me to go get the heater from downstairs," he says, "and point it at you so you don't get cold?" He grins into my eyes, his smile a deep dimple on each end.
4897. Craig pulls the evening into a square knot and sets Jane and me free to go visit baby Lydia and Cerissa. I relish all the firsts filling the precious evening. Freshly newborn, what a miracle to witness, suddenly the whole world is a miracle.
4898. And so we finger the edges of a new day, a newborn, a miracle.