Sunday, May 31, 2015


"Okay," I call to Craig. "I'll plan on showering right now."

Eighty degree heat, perched atop the new arbor, Craig revs the electric drill. He almost nods, but crossbar in place, he anchors it with undivided focus. Extra screws between his lips, he lines up another crossbar and then anchors it too.

"I'll pop the pizza in the oven after that," I say.

He nods. Jane, at the other end of the yard, looks up, her chin and eyebrows raised in tandem.

"Couldn't you just put it in the oven and then shower?" she says. She glides across the grass on tip-toe.

"Yeah," I say, "but I'm afraid I'll burn it, 'cause they don't cook very long."

"I could do it," she says.

"You mean put it in the oven and everything? You have to be able to get them in and out yourself."

"I will," she says. She tilts her head, her smile slightly more pronounced on one side.

"Oh, and make a salad too," I say.

"Okay," she nods staccato.

"Are you sure you don't mind?"

"Oh, no," she says.

"Oo-kay," I say. We smile to each other, something gentle and happy, like the rocking of a boat, between us. "Okay," I say.

We head inside, but I feel it again, that gentle pulse of love, a thrum-drum of rightness. I watch her learn to lay down her life and rise up in strength.

Each day we loosen the reigns a little more.


5924. Black licorice from Lynn and a fun time for Jack bringing back treats with her.

5925. Chips, salad, and burgers. Barbecue is a highlight of the week.

5926. Lucy gets a watch.

5927. Her glasses come in.

5928. And then she pulls 2000 weeks to win a contest with Aunt Libby.

5929. Craig finishes the arbor.

5930. We plant vegetables in the garden.

5931. Betsy has her four month appointment and is doing well.

5932. I score my first ever win against Craig in chess.

5933. Jack discovers the Hardy Boys books from his cousin.

5934. We continue to live in joy.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Boy

"Joey, could you kill that for me?" I say.

I gesture with my elbow to a gangly-legged spider on the sill. Betsy in arms, she nurses through the jostle. If Joe were a puppy, his ears would be perked straight up. He furrows his brow, zeros in on the spider.

"Yeah," he says. Two strides to the window, one bear-ish swipe, and he smooshes the arachnid. "Did it," he says. He pinches up the leggy remains. "Gonna throw it away," he says.

"Thanks, Joe." He's half way to the kitchen, stalled out studying the black crumple. I call after him. "You are brave," I say. He frowns, looks up, cocks his puppy head.

"'AM," he says, the monosyllable a boulder clunking from his mouth. With the seriousness of a knighting we nod.

"Yeah," I say, but really I'm just keeping time to the synchronous nodding between. "Yup," I say. That masculine matrix resounding, I memorize that face, courage unfettered.


5917. Craig makes waffles for breakfast.

5918. Joe fills his M&M wrapper with Play-Doh.

5919. Coral chair and hand-me-down-yarn.

5920. We celebrate Great-Grammie's 100th birthday. Everyone sings her favorite hymn: How Great Thou Art. Ribbons of harmony encircle us. I've always wished I could sing harmony.

5921. Yellow scrubby dishrag yarn.

5922. The mind is the lackey of the heart. I mull over John Piper's words on my morning run.

5923. We buckle down on chores. Everyone strains against the reigns of discipline and then embraces the freedom.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Gift

"You really don't enjoy a thing unless you know the person who gave it," Lucy says. A pile of doll clothes on her lap, she strokes a navy blue onesie. "And that they didn't have to," she says.

"Yup," I say. Dolly clothes, a birthday present.

"They just want to, and they hope you enjoy it," she says. She shakes her head.

I nod. Gratitude and spontaniaty hold hands like old pals.


"Do you hear that noise?" Myra says.

I pause at Betsy's seatbelt. Crickets chirp. "Yeah," I say.

"What IS that?" she says. Myra and Joe stand like small statutes, ears perked to crickets. I pull Betsy's arms through the tiny belts, the sun a symphony around us.

"It's crickets," I say.

"Oooooohh," Myra says, her head swiveled back like a baby bird. "I thought it was coyotes," she says. I shut the car door, Betsy slung over an arm. I stretch a pink knit blanket around her and remotely lock the car.

"Nope," I say. I reach for Joe's hand and the three of us fall into step.

"'Cause when I hear-ed the coyotes before it sounded just like that," she say.

"Oooohh," I say. "Nope."

The sidewalk suddenly at an end we all stop and then at my signal, trit-trott across the street.


"This is a-MAZing grace," Jack sings. "This is un-FAILing looove." Betsy, there in his arms, he sings in almost-melody. Broad shoulders stretched tight with muscles, he holds Betsy and sings to her.

The other the children gather swimsuits and towels. Bare feet scamper down the hallway. But Betsy eclipses them all. Jack hardly sees them, just Betsy's blue eyes.

He sits down on the hearth and other children join the song. A chorus encircles us.

This is a-MAZing grace. This is un-FAILing loOOove.

Amazing grace. Unfailing love. When we chose a big family I didn't know it would look like this.


5906. I finally get the hang of knitting baby booties. I knit two pairs and start a third.

5907. We plan out our summer schedule and chores.

5908. Myra says she doesn't like peanut butter. "But that's ok," she says, "I'll learn to like it."

5909. I continue reading and researching a variety of topics and find great peace in the result.

5910. I transplant 51 zinnias and prepare 50 marigold to transplant next week.

5911. Jack recovers after Joe smashes his spider.

5912. I play chess with Craig. It ends in a stalemate (a non-loss!!).

5913. Craig stains a fence out back.

5914. Myra and Lucy both have birthdays (5 years old and 7 years old).

5915. "Momma, I have MORE chives. I am ABLE to get more of those," Joe says. He pokes them into the table bouquet.

5916. We work in the yard and in the house, our lives entwined with each other. A cord of security and friendship forms between us.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Bite

"Joey, don't forget to give me a little bite of it," Myra says.

Myra bobs behind me as I whisk through the house. Blankets and pajamas, mismatched socks, the bathroom rug, a rumpled quilt -- vestiges of a flu bug spill from the laundry. I step around a stack of dirty clothes, but Myra stays behind.

"Joe-Joe, don't forget," she whispers in chime-voice.

Joey, spectacle-of-the-morning, stayed dry all night, and as per usual, had claimed his candy treat. Reeces there, smeared around his lips, he halts.

"Myra, you're sick," I say. Everyone stops, including me now wheeled around watching them. Willowy red-head, blue eyes blank as the empty sky, blink-blinks back at me.

Then, as if to mitigate disaster, Joe snaps the Reeces in half, gestures to Myra.

"Here, that mean her not sick," he says. Medicine. Love is medicine.

Joe almost always gives half of his candy to Myra.


5898. I begin knitting baby booties. The first two flop. The third is looking good.

5899. Craig takes me on a Mother's Day date. There in the Mexican restaurant I fix in my mind the ochre yellow and sky blue of the walls, the cinnamon horchata. Then we run errands. Perfect.

5900. The children make me Mother's day cards.

5901. Craig buys me a peony.

5902. I begin playing chess again.

5903. Yarn new, new yarn. I rub the soft skeins against my face.

5904. Craig stains the garden arbor and the new dresser he made.

5905. Life settles into a fresh and gentle rhythm, something new.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Flu

When the flu hits, our bathroom is the loft of recovery.


5896. Craig is home after a week out of town.

5897. The flu bug is very nearly vanquished from our house.