"Don't." Myra frowns at Joe, eyebrows foiled. Joe hauls Olive Sunny over his head, grunts and grins, does a two-step-stomp.
With the skill of an incision, Myra yanks Olive from Joey's paws.
"I'm not playing baby any more," she chirps, and with perfect posture, she clasps Olive to her chest.
"Why?" I glance up from Lucy's sewing kit, it bloomed over my lap, embroidery floss limp and impossible to thread.
"'Cause," she says, "he's grabbing my baby when I don't want him to." She pats Olive and trounces off, shoulders square, eyebrows up. She gives Olive a nap.
The day unfolds, a paper crane of a day. And then, it's dinner.
"Myra, do chickens poop?" Craig asks. All eyes on Myra, she strokes a downy buff feather, soup bowl long forgotten. "Myra? Do chickens poop?"
"No," She pops her head perpendicular to the table, corkscrew red curls twanging around her face. "They just lay feathers," she says. Her eyes round polkadots, she puffs the feather around her hambone soup.
"They sometimes get poop on their feathers," Craig says.
Myra blinks. "Oh."
"Go wash your hands."
"Ok." She trifles from the table, buoyant on the ball of her foot. I pass her in the hall. "I'm gonna soak my hands in hot water," she says, "HOT water." She holds palms out like dirty socks. Ebullient navy wellies to her knees, she rolls on past.
The day settles, a plumule of a night. Then, Sunday morning, and I'm gathering the flock of children. I frown at my closet, try to goad a sunday best from my drawers.
"Mom," Myra sits on the edge of my bed, knees gathered, oatmeal smudged on the hem of her dress. "I can pick my nose and frow it on the ground," she says. She gives a grown-up nod, flicks something like chaff off her index finger. "But I can't ever put it in my mouf."
I pause, nod. She nods. I wonder if I should address the booger-flick or just race to be on time. Her face beaming, we sprint into clothes, chase bowls and spoons and flecks of oatmeal around the breakfast arena.
We circle up and land in the car, something silent and peaceful between us. The accumulation of hurrying with out yelling feels foreign but good. The children have their papers, reasonably warm clothing, and I hear the seat belts snap as we back down the driveway.
"Hurry up," I say as we tumble out of the suburban, "we have about one minute to be on time. Here, you carry my bag, and you carry my water bottle. I've got Joey." We hasten like prairie dogs over the gravel, scamper around the south sidewalk.
Somewhere between that sidewalk and the front door, it dawns on me. My feet feel so light. And warm. I'm wearing my slippers. Dear Lord, I'm wearing my slippers.
We scuttle in, my feet light and warm, ebullient like Myra's wellies. The plume of peace between us outweighs it all.
5107. The cousins come to play. Monday bliss.
5108. Joey struts into the room and hollers his usual greeting. I finally realize what it is. "Guys, GUYS," he shouts.
5109. I sew a whole bobbin of bad stitching on my latest quilt. "Take it out," Cerissa says, "or you'll regret it." We commiserate.
5110. Rockwood Bakery treats: cream cheese danish, almond croissant.
5111. "And Jesus," Myra prays, "please help Joey to hold the babies right. Amen."
5112. Myra heaves a three foot lion up our stairs. "Doggie, DOGGIE," Joey shouts, flaps his arms, "DOGGIE." Myra, lugs it over the top step, dups it, plants a hand on her hip. "Joey," she says, "that's not a dog." She grins tilts her head in affection, "It's an ELEPHANT."
5113. Bean soup and baked potatoes, peppermint popcorn for dessert, we linger with family. Camaraderie infuses us.
5114. Coconut macaroons. Chocolate glaze.
5115. I tear out the bad stitching on my quilt. Twelve hours, the children watch.
5116. The children continue to perfect the ASL alphabet.
5117. A king sheet set in faint spring green, it will make the backing of my new quilt. I snug it away with my quilting essentials.
5118. Out come the light spring sweaters, morning sky blue, admiral blue.
5119. I knit to the armpits on Lucy's sweater.
5120. We take a trip to the local zoo: Cabella's.
5121. We round up Saturday and have a puzzle and tea with my brother and his family. We feel it, supreme blessedness, beatitude.
5122. "Do you think Grammie's gonna be happy when she doesnt' have to by steak 'cause I'm gonna shoot her some?" Jack asks.
5123. "Mom," Myra tattles, "Lucy was trampoling to me."
5124. "Joe, I love you," I say. "Good," he says.
5125. Leftovers. We eat leftovers for three nights this week -- felicity and gladness.
5126. Jane finishes sewing miles of fat quarters together and sails off to the next step of her quilt.
5127. I mull over a quote from The Princess and Curdie: He who is diligent will soon be cheerful.
5128. Cheerful. I shall work to be diligent.