"Mommy, when I grow up I want to be a mommy," Myra says.
Knees folded up, fingers interlaced around shins, she rocks on her behind, sing-songs conversation. I shower. She talks. She wraps blue-blankie around her shoulders and squeezes him in a hug.
"Sometimes I puke on the rugs," she says.
"Yup," I say.
And we stair-step through the day, retell the details. She puked. We made a bed in the bathroom. She puked again. We all stayed out. She puked again. And then the day sort of dwindled away while she slept. Then she was cured. I showered.
We pretend it's grown-up conversation all the inflection and pauses in the right spots. I nod. She grins. We volley, trace the moves.
"Ew. I don't want to step where you puked," I frown. Encircled in a big red towel, I tip-toe around a thick cotton mat.
"I puked on the rug."
I nod, dry my toe on its corner and push it into a rumple. "On both rugs?"
"No, only that one where you said." She tips her head to the cinnamon bathmat scuffed up next to the tub.
I consider tiptoe still best and stealth my way around a lumpy chestnut rug and blue-blankie.
"I puked right there." She points to the un-rugged stretch in front of the sink.
"Oh. What did you wipe it up with?"
"I didn't," she says. I squint at the patch. "It dried," she says.
"I see." I pause. We measure this new information.
"Sometimes I puke, and it dries," she says. I feel it again, the arc of conversation, the awkward pause, the new detail right on time.
"Ah," I say. We nod in tandem, deference, grin. And then, as if on cue, a sluice of health and relief buoys up between us. Her eyes bright, me finally showered, we take it for what it is: enough.
"Come on, let's go get our jammies on."
We tritt-trot down the hall a sense of camaraderie firm under our feet.
4917. Jack goes on a Gramma-date.
4918. Myra gets over the flu.
4919. "Mom, I kinda want to turn off my lava lamp, but I feel kinda bad," Jane comes to me. "I need someone to give me approval," she says. "Turn off the lava lamp," I say, her transparency an ocean of love between us, a smile all the way back to her room.
4920. "Before you go with the flow," she says later, "look and see if it's right, 'cause it's usually not."
4921. And then, I scold her for fiddling with socks during evening prayer. "I'm sorry, Momma," she says, "Will you forgive me?" She blinks. "I was probably setting a very bad example for those who had their eyes open." Her eyes earnest blue and round as the moon, I bust into laughter. A pause and we both do. Sincerity carries the day, a bond.
4922. Grated carrots, chopped cabbage, celery, and squash, Mom and I scare up the makings for soup. Grocery shopping and conversation, I savor the time before she leaves again for Kenya.
4923. Craig and the kids clean the yard and prep the garden for winter.
4924. "I think there's a little family of roly-polies in here," Jack pokes around the rhubarb bed.
4925. They dig carrots. Lucy scrubs them.
4926. Lucy and I trounce off shopping for second-hand books. Classics, we find almost more than we can carry. When the checker undercharges us. I tell the truth. "I knew if I lied it would make me a different kind of person," I tell Lu and enjoy the solid feeling of truth inside.
4927. Craig encircles me in his arms, cuddles me close, nuzzles my cheek, kisses me, there in the living room in the wide circle of afternoon. "Everyone join in!" Lucy whoops and the children tackle us in a hug.
4928. My parents host the family fall birthday party. We make the usual fanfare. All that round-robin encouragement, and I leave feeling full even though it wasn't my birthday.
4929. Hibiscus lid covers, pink, perfect.
4930. The crockpot overflows while we are at church. Craig mops it up for me.
4931. He surprises me with four fancy chocolates. We them split for a date.
4932. We buy the season's first eggnog and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas liturgy: harvest, Thanksgiving, Christmas.
4933. Christmas music fills the house like warm cream in winter oatmeal. We swallow the moments, warm and rich. They nourish our bones.