"Go look on your dresser," Jack says. "Mom, go look at your dresser." Jack bombs into the room. Boy bluster, the persistent verbal tapping, I turn. He wrinkles his forehead, pulls his eyebrows expectant.
So I go. A tiny measuring cup, a white bunch of flowers, he splits a grin, affection crinkled at the corners of his eyes.
Then it's Myra, "Mom look, I got a jar with water in, and plants are in." She turns a pint jar upside down, then rights it. Green leaves whirl with the movement. "I don't want Joe to get it," she explains. "I'm gonna look at my plant." She unscrews the silver ring, pokes her nose into the jar.
A friend pops in, the children scatter through the house, undo miscellaneous messes. We smile at the nice company.
"I'm gonna go get more flowers for your vase," Jack announces as she leaves.
"Aw thanks," I say. I wonder how many stems will fit in the tiny cup.
"I actually wouldn't care about going out there except for flowers for you," he says.
"Yeah?" I say. I smile from the green couch. He shrugs there at the back door, his six salad plants sprouted on the brick hearth, crisp green, already four inches tall.
"I hope there are some spring flowers," he says. "I'm gonna wear my boots." He shoves a toe into a black wellie. Jane scampers by. He turns to her. "If I can't find flowers, then I'm gonna play," he calls.
They play. Another bouquet finds its way to the table.
I call Myra in for naps. We meet in my room, her perched on the edge of the bed, her mason jar balanced against her leg.
"Oh, wow," I say. I pick up her jar.
"It's a plant thing," she says. I rotate the vase in my hand. The metal seal topples off, I right the gush just in time.
"Here, we'll leave it on the dresser while you nap," I say.
Then, each morning, Jack heralds me. "Momma, you should look at your flowers this morning," he says.
"Ok," I say.
"Mom, you should look. Some of the buds are blooming that weren't yesterday."
I smile his direction.
"Some sticks are poking up," he pokes his fingers through his hand. "And the white part isn't even crumpled."
Bouquets appear on table tops, the hearth, dressers, and countertops. The children carry them around in jars and cups, bowls and old bottles. Joey steals a bouquet at nap time, drinks the water out of the vase.
They pour over the plants, memorize the dried up buds and crumpled leaves. Myra clutches her jar, totes it around until it starts to stink.
"It smells good," she says.
"No it doesn't," I say.
"Oh," she says.
And then they pick more. Effusive. Unflappable. They pick more.
Gentle footsteps of affection fill the house.
5310."Now, stop picking your nose, and you can start drinking your tea," Jane says to Myra.
5311. "Mommy, these are not frustration marks," Lu points to scribbles on her math. "Joey just was trying to help me."
5312. We pick up and head to the farm last minute. We collaborate a meal together and let the evening settle.
5313. I note Craig's dad always holds the door for me.
5314. I find a pile of crumbs next to Lu in the sunroom. "Jack broke off some of his brownie for me," she says.
5315. "I still like myself when I'm weird," Myra says, "'cause that's what we're supposed to do."
5316. Myra can't push her bike up the driveway. Her older cousin comes up behind and pushes it for her.
5317. "Don't just eat the vinegar, Joey," Myra frowns at a puddle of vinegar in Joe's beans. He slurps it up.
5218. Joe hands Myra an M&M. "EAT," he says.
5319. Craig unsuccessfully tries to re-cook a slice of bread in the microwave. The resulting plume of smoke makes a permanent memory for us all.
5320. Myra puts a key in an outlet. The spindrift of sparks, the flickering lights, her blackened hand, the key ring blown apart, and she's safe and sound.
5321. Joey turns two. Our family encircles us. Ham and potatoes, brownies and ice cream, we eat. We bump elbows, we visit, entwine conversation, and linger. Love settles between us, the perfect gift.
5322. Peter brings his metal detector to the party. A gang of treasure hunters follow him like a wake.
5323. Pete lets us borrow his spare detector.
5324. I find a mistake in my knitting, set my mind to puzzle it out.
5325. I think about the church of ancient Rome and Paul's words to them. He speaks so highly of patient continuance in doing good. Patience continuance. Yes. Nourishment.