"Can you start getting out whatever you want me to make next?" Jane says. Running shorts and a slick shirt, she teeters her shoulders, anticipation jockeyed between them. I sigh, summer heat draped over me and the whole the living room.
"Uh-huh," I say.
"I'm just in the mood to bake," she says. She never really stops moving. "I don't have any money 'cause I lost my penny," she seesaws her head. "I just have my whistle and my pocket knife." She thrusts a hand in her pocket, then drags it out closed. "See?" she unfurls fingers, a tube-whistle and a black stone, sharp on one edge.
"Huh," I say. I nod in time to the rhythm ping-ponged between her shoulders, something happier than the heat demands.
"If I bake something, then I can give it as gifts, even though I don't have money," she says. She gives a hop as if the rhythm settled to her knees. Her face unflappable, I finally relent.
"Ok," I say. I lean forward into a front somersault of standing in the heat. She grins.
Coconut mocha brownies, brown sugar cookies, fresh bread, the children turn their free time into hobbies.
5482. "Mom, can I have a ziplock baggie?" Lucy holds up a partially constructed quilt top. "Sure, to put your stuff in kind of like Grammie does?" I say. "Yeah," she says, "I actually kinda like being like her."
5483. Barley feta salad, Tuesday girls, and Olivia comes.
5484. I reconnect with a local business owner closing up shop.
5485. Bookshelves!! Craig buys me a new bookshelf.
5486. Dad, Dan, and Craig mastermind the whole house around the new shelf. Then they muscle everything into place. Two engineers and a farm boy, they make it fit perfectly.
5487. We edit the game closet, pare it down to our favorites.
5488. Lucy goes on a date with her grammie and then her gramma.
5489. Barley salad with black beans, we have a picnic out back. Jack and Lu make cookies for dessert.
5490. I finally settle on the perfect summer uniform: striped sundresses. Each one feels perfect.
5491. Mom helps me pick out the perfect raspberry fabric to make armrests for the red plaid couch.
5492. Myra finds me before bed. Bad dreams. "Jesus," she prays, "can you just save me, and I'll call on your name? Amen."
5493. Our ASL teacher stops by bearing gifts.
5494. We visit the farm, share a meal. "Go, I'll bbq burgers," Craig's dad says. We take the four-wheeler around the back fields, miles of land a cloak around us.
5495. Craig finds Jack fully dressed and sleeping on the edge of Jane's bed when he goes to wake her for early morning volunteering. He relents, takes Jack too.
5496. Toothbrush and orange colored pencil, Joe sidles up to brush my hair.
5497. I organize the schoolroom for a new year. "I just can't wait for school to start," Jane says. "It's like we're done with our work by breakfast right now. I just want some good work to do."
5498. And so it is, we continue to learn to love work.