"Him can even still walk," Myra says. She holds a squirmy-legged roly-poly up like a diamond.
"Oh." I nod. She settles him into an old play dough container. She carries him downstairs where the rest of us go to watercolor.
I set up on the old cedar chest. Jane, Jack, and Lu assemble fortresses around the library, cups of water and paint perpendicular to their paper. Myra shores ups on the corner of my trunk.
"Oh, careful," I say. "Don't bump me." The roly-poly lumbers across the trunk. She corals it between her hands. I wet the paper, swirl color across the pallet, test it on the paper towel. She lets the poly crawl up her arm like a parrot.
"Bop-bop-bop," she murmurs.
I dab green in the center of a violet blossom. It purls emerald loops up the edge of a petal. Myra and poly skew the watercolor block as I lift the brush.
"Hey, you're gonna have to go somewhere else," I say. She rocks the poly in her hand.
"This one is the baby," she says. "See?" She scratches another one out of a crevice between watercolor block and the cedar chest. She shows me both, one in each palm, her eyes resplendent blue.
Then it's Saturday, Craig away at camp, the rest of us doling out the soft pace of summer over a Saturday.
"Mommy, I love swatting flies," Jack says. He follows me around with the sing-song gate of an eight-year-old boy. "Mommy, when Daddy gets home, I'm probably gonna be out in the garden catching bugs," he says.
I sock clean dishes in the cupboard, chop grapes and olives for a salad, and there he is at my elbow. "I'm gonna go get the flyswatter when I'm done with the dishes," he says, "and go and swat flies outside 'cause it's really pleasurable 'cause it's like a GAME."
"Yeah, I guess so," I say.
"I like watching spiders and painting and looking at the garden." He trails through frogs and snails and puppy dog tails. We clean up the kitchen. He trip-trops out the back.
"Momma, this isn't luggage," Jane narrates from the living room. She flops a picnic basket open. "It's luggage and three babies," she says. She lifts one out, up to the sky, that same motion of Myra and her poly.
"Oh," I say tracing the arc of her arms.
"And these, are rafts," she says, "that we float on down the current." She sweeps her arm past two patchwork quilts spread across the floor, the room a wide river, the ottoman on one bank.
I nod, scoop the last few bites of salad into my mouth. I chew them to tiny bits, let the moment run long and wide as that river.
"Mom, this is a really fun game," Jane says.
"I used to love playing games like that," I say.
"Can I see the game," Lu hollers from the bathroom.
"We're playing the baby game," Jane says.
The baby game. Summer lingers, the children with it. We let the long strokes of current wash over us.
5499. Ben and Me - A New And Astonishing Life Of Benjamin Franklin, As Written By His Good Mouse AMOS. A new book.
5500. Play All Day With Ladybug Girl, Myra says she's Ladybug Girl.
5501. Vitamin B12.
5502. Craig takes the kids to the YMCA. We come home and roast sweet potato fries and eat brownies.
5503. Jane, Jack, Lu, and I sketch in the morning, watercolor in the afternoon.
5504. "When ever I think about the sweet potato sauce that Dad bought," Lu says, "I just salivate."
5505. Myra tries her hand at watercolor, Jane at her side. "I guess I can see that it's not gonna be any easier with her that it was with mine," Jane says, and dabs an orange puddle.
5506. Jane turns ten. We have a date, pizza on paper plates, a picnic table in the shade. We laugh at the wide world of ten and how everything changes between ten and twenty. All the while, our eyes hold each other, rivulets of affections between us.
5507. Craig's parents stop by with three+ gallons of raspberries. The children eat them by the handfuls. I memorize a recipe for jam. "How long did this take you?" I say. "Oh, I did it this morning," Craig's mom says. I smile into the wide mile of generosity.
5508. Headaches plague me along with the wildfire smoke drifting through town. A.W. Towzer's words ring in my ears: Problems patiently endured will work for our spiritual perfecting. They harm us only when we resist them or endure them unwillingly.
5509. So it is, endurance wins the day.