"Momma, can we just SPEAK up like that," Jane says, "and say we're NOT buying anymore swimsuits until they make some that are modest? And it's a real shame when we see people that aren't?"
I pause, note her direct route from news article to decisive action.
Eyes earnest blue, she idles at my shoulder then flits to the toaster. She shucks the toast down, then butters warm brown bread. "You want some?"
"No, I actually really want salad. I just haven't gotten around to making it."
She sidles by, toast in hand, trit-trots out the back.
I smooth her swimsuit words through my mind, turn them over like a coin in hand. "Hey, hey come back," I call.
The open window above the sink carries my voice to her. A shuffle and she slugs the door open again.
"Yeah?" she says.
"Hey come here, I want to tell you something."
"Ok." She skips up the one step difference between sunroom and office den.
"Yes," I start, "actually in this country we can say stuff like that."
"Well, why don't you do that?" Immediately tracking, her face pleasant, eyebrows effortless, sensible, she grins. Eye to eye, I smile, the blue iris of her eyes fractured with tiny aqua veins.
"Because," I say, "I have a limited amount of time and energy, and I am devoting that to my children right now." The circles of our eyes matched face to face, I trace the guileless rim of that azure iris. Long limbs, beanpole, and whimsical, she vacillates ever so slightly right to left. "Maybe you will be the one to do that someday before you have kids," I say.
"I will." She nods as if speaking of the past. "I'd even do it right now if you let me." Hushed at the intwining of innocence and fervor, I watch. "When I say do it, I mean go to the place and just say it, right now, before I turn nine, before I start my tenth year."
The words unfold stair-step, the gentle gait of her bare feet invisible. Her cerulean eyes happy, resolved, she gambols out the back door.
I nod, boldness fresh in the air.
4589. "Lucy's buttering 'em so YUMMY," Myra blisses, "and then she's letting them MELT." She leans eyelash to eyelash with the toast. "Cool. COOL. Cool," she chants, "One of 'em just melted. I saw this one MELT."
4590. "It smells like cucumbers," Myra comments on the ozone haze after the thunderstorm.
4591. The Tuesday Girls meet.
4592. Our small group makes candid conversation over pumpkin pie. The real sinew of friendship shows itself.
4593. "That's so awesome that you make bread," Craig compliments Jane. "Not very many adults make bread," he says. "Why?" she asks, "Because they make their kids do it?"
4594. "I seriously feel like I'm living with another woman here when you help like that," I tell her. "I so appreciate your help." She laughs. "Yeah. I try to make myself useful," she says.
4595. We ready the table for dinner guests, the food already done. Jack realizes we will eat as soon as the guests arrive. "You prepared most of it ahead of time, you good girl," he says.
4596. "Mom, it feels like I need to water my whistle," Jack comments before he slugs down a pint of water.
4597. "I think we should try to talk together everyday," Jane says, "not just when we have dates. And we should try to do it at times where we could do more and just see if we get carried away."
4598. We eat ham on fresh made bread, salad with cherries, Lays potato crisps, the perfect summer meal unfolds with family.
4599. A mother bird rejects her babies and keeps dropping them in the garden. "I just don't want to SEE it DIE," Jack sobs again and again as we try to put it back into the nest.
4600. "I disobeyed. I'm sorry," another child sobs and runs to me ripe with repentance.
4601. "Jane, you are just like your mother," Jack teases as she slogs the mayo container against the table to make it squirt better.
4602. Cerissa and the boys come over to play. We knit and embroider while the kids cavort around the backyard.
4603. We have an ASL class all on farmer's markets.
4604. Mom and I make a memory picking out earrings. And I get the first new earrings probably since having Jane.
4605. I complete the soft blue sweater I started for Jane with pearly white buttons and start one for Lucy. She pick a navy one.
4606. Craig starts the henhouse renovation and invents a sandwich all in one day. Ham, egg, sharp cheddar, roasted garlic and chili aioli, mmMMMmmM. We eat it two days in a row.
4607. "Mom, math is like food to my mind," Lucy says.
4608. "It doesn't' look like something you would eat except it actually does taste good," Lucy narrates as I chop a fennel bulb for salad.
4609. We tie up a few loose ends of obedience and the whole house seems to sigh with contentment.
4610. Obedience, the path to contentment.