"Revelations is a good book," Lu says. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, white plates, crumbs past the radius of each elbow, we break for lunch.
"Revela-TION," I say. "It's Revela-TION. Not RevelationS."
I carve a trench in my lentil soup, yeah, Mom gets soup. I glance at Lu, kitty corner across the table. I crush taco chips and toss them over the lentil mush. It's one thirty, a rush of hunger now almost eclipsed.
"Yeah," she says. "Revelation."
Myra scooches next to me, slides her plate, chink, next to my bowl. "Can I sit by you?" she whispers, her lips on my shoulder. I smile, that red hair a cloud let loose. I encircle her with my arm. She's a chopstick of a girl folded up next to me.
"Oh, lean over," I say. "Don't get crumbs on the floor." She's grabbed her sandwich and nibbled the corner, a landslide of crumbs in her lap. She untangles from my arm like a magnet pulled from the fridge. "Here." I nudge the plate up to her chest.
"Revelation is all about the end of the world," I say. The jumbo chip bag almost gone, I rattle shoulder deep. Joey sets his sandwich on the table.
"Jack," Jane says, "if you read Isaiah, you'll get a pretty good taste of the same thing." The confidence of an executive, she bites into the white center of her sandwich.
"How did you know that?" I say.
China blue eyes oblivious, she shrugs. "When Dad was listening to Isaiah, I thought he was listening to Revelation."
"Oh," I say. An imperceptible nod passes, a tiny consensus. We all feel it, but no one says anything.
A day later, and it's bed time, the gallop and gaggle of five children in various stages of undress, some with toothbrushes, others begging to wear clothes to bed because they can't find jammies.
Like a warm front blowing in, a white thunderhead clearing the pool, Craig fires up the shop vac. The usual clatter forgotten, he drags the roaring red beast from corner to corner. I sigh. Noise, I hate noise.
And silt. At least the silt and dregs and sediment are being sucked away. Slag and debris from meals gone by, oatmeal, corn chips, sandwiches and pretzels, a peanut, some raisins, a loft of trailing hair, grey dust bunnies. I watch him paint clean across the floor.
The furrow between my brows eases. I grab a wet wipe, scrub behind him. A long scuff of black, some sciffs of red crayon, a splotch of milk turned dry and encrusted, I scrubby them down to hardwood.
"You're doin' a GOOD job cleanin' up out here," Lu says.
I look up. There on my knees, a quarter of a grumble swallowed down, "It's mostly Daddy," I stammer.
"You're being a big help too," she nods, slaps me on the back. She trots over to the canister of noise. Elation billows behind her. And confidence. A will to lead. She doesn't see it, as invisible as her backside.
Embroidered along the inseam of her smile, there it is again, that small agreement, that tiny nod willing good for each other. This is family.
Like a ship sucked under, my enmity toward Craig capsizes. I swim for the surface buoyant after all.
5219. "I'm putting away everything when I'm done with it," Jack says. "Please follow my example, everyone."
5220. "An hour," Myra says, "means only like for four minutes."
5221. "I love you," I whisper into Jane's ear. "I want to see your shining face," she says and she pulls out of my embrace, peers into my face, and blinks adoration. "Me too," I say.
5222. "I want to dance with Dad sometimes," Lucy says, "'cause I like to put my feet on his feet and dance and dance."
5223. "Jack," Lu says, "you want to watch me do 200 math facts in 15 minutes?"
5224. White chicken chili with red bell peppers, cheese crisps, berry cobbler, and coffee, all of us girls meet at Mom's house for lunch.
5225. "Mom, musket bullets have stuff like gravel in them," Jack converses from the shower. "Dad told me," he says. "I asked him on about it on the way home from wrestling." (Over and over and over, Craig tells me later.)
5226. Pizza and salad, belly laughs and banter, the leisure dinner that overlaps wrestling practice, family reclined at the table, we peel the night away until it's just a core of love and loyalty.
5227. Craig's Valentine's gift to me finally arrives: two cotton dresses.
5228. "When Jack is a grown-up," Lucy says, "Mom will be really OLD. She'll be like a hundred or somethin'."
5229. "Jesus," Jane prays, "help us to know how to love you."
5230. Lucy sings Amazing Grace while she works math facts.
5231. I pine for a headband that will stay on my head and Mom lets me in on the secret: make your own.
5232. Coconut sugar, cat cookies, non-GMO cornstarch: a grocery run.
5233. Craig finds 15 skeins of yarn for $5 at an estate sale.
5234. I wipe Joey's hand and pluck him from the table. His chubby legs topple the spool stool on my big toe. I huff and puff and glow with agony. "I dropped one of Jack's coins, and it landed on MY big toe," Jane comforts. "It hurt. I know how you feel." I bust with laughter.
5235. Craig rebuilds our silverware drawer.
5236. "Look, Mom. LOOK, Mom," Joey begins to say.
5237. A nugget from The Truth Project: Assumptions are caught and bought without an open and conscious dialogue. They are the most dangerous form of knowledge.
5238. I think of those small moments of agreement, those imperceptible threads that lace through us at the end of a moment: assumptions. We are fashioning assumptions. I pray each and every one honors my Lord.