"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.