"Oh, and I let the kids build a fort in the living room," Craig says, "just so you know." Flopped across the bed, leaned on an elbow, he's come to wake me. Encircling the kids in morning work, he'd let me sleep.
"Oh," I say. "Did they do their jobs?"
"Yeah, it sounded like they were doing them."
"Did you check."
"No, not yet."
Fort-land. It envelopes the living room, anesthetizes the mind, slackens responsibility. We wade out into tent-land. A trunk and a flock of stools hold up roofs of quilts. Chores fade and disappear, that mountain range of dishes far, far off in the distance.
"Um, why is the sink full of dishes?" I say. "Did you empty the dishwasher?"
"Why didn't you put the dishes in?"
"I don't know."
"Five minutes," Craig says.
Tincel town collapses into the spare parts of living room life. Stools and quilts, a stack of books that held up a wall, the children scamper the planets of their universe back into innocuous life. Chores spring up and gain momentum. The cogs of life creak forward.
"Whose job is the sunroom?" I croak. I peak around the kitchen corner, an espresso basket of coffee in one hand.
"I got it," Jack says. "When I saw your face make expression when you looked in the sunroom," he says, "I thought, I'll just pick that up." He shakes his head, guileless, matter-of-fact.
"I appreciate that," I say.
"Yeah," he nods. Half out of the kitchen, arms laden with more books, he swaggers, carefree.
That night before bed, I find a blue sticky note in my bathroom.
I love you more than ever now.
Do we have a plan for tomorrow?
Can I build a fort after breakfast?
We will clean it up when we are done.
When you wake up can I make harvest rolls?
I love you.
Fort-land springs up, a new day dawning and collapses into the work of the day. A miraculous ebb and flow of pleasure pulses like a heartbeat.
5612. For the first time since Betsy was born, this week gested at routine.
5613. Craig hides a chocolate bar by the toaster for me to find.
5614. Jack starts wrestling practice, pizza waiting for him at home the first night.
5615. Chocolate croissants.
5616. We navigate irritation and tranquility like troughs and peaks of the wide open sea. Peace and resolve settle over us all.
5617. We season lentils with new spices, gourmet.
5618. Cerissa sends over cookie dough balls with the peanut flour I bought.
5619. I listen to Tim Keller preach on the Lord's prayer. Adoration. Prayer takes flight.