"Today was a happy day," Myra says, "'cause everyone was serving other people." Standing on the bottom bunk, she grasps the top-bunk rail and leans forward. She sways out into the room, her arms pulled backwards, fingers looped around the rail.
"Um-hum," I say. At the dresser-turned-changing-table, I flatten a cloth diaper under Betsy. By muscle memory I change her without even thinking.
"Like Jane made my bed when no one told her to," Myra says as she swings through my peripheral. "Everyone was doing things for other people. That's called SERVING."
"I wonder why," I say.
"I know," she says. "No one even told them to." She pauses mid arc, a slow blink of those blue eyes as if a whole library were unfurling in her mind. "They're not like being MEAN and hurting each other."
"Yep." I snap the legs of Betsy's pants together.
"They're not like that. They're SERVING. The Bible ACTUALLY says you're supposed to be serving other people," she says.
"Yep," I say, a moment of clarity.
All this dogged intolerance of bickering and attitude, selfishness and apathy, a regular crusade, and we here we are. Intolerance is actually cultivation. Here we are with serving poured into our laps.
5935. Coral flour sack dish towels, a set of four.
5936. We plant rows and rows of tomatoes in the garden. One hundred twenty tomatoes planted.
5937. The last one is the biggest, grandest black krim I've ever seen.
5938. We get the last of the kids' winter clothes switched out for summer wear.
5939. The children plant their garden.
5940. Saturday morning the kids get up and make a family breakfast. Eggs and toast for everyone. They even set up three chess board as part of the meal.
5941. Craig fashions math contests and competitions. The children jump-jump-jump to meet his high standard.
5942. We visit Lucy's optometrist. He has her start new eye therapy and order bifocals.
5943. We attend a high school graduation party. The little red-head down the street has turned into a lovely, lovely woman.
5944. Lucy makes bread, and Jack and Jane water the garden plants all before church.
5945. Oranges, a whole box of them. Oranges make the best dessert.
5946. Chicken soup. I boil homemade stock and make four gallons of chicken soup, Jane's favorite.
5947. Betsy laughs uproariously when I change her clothes, her ribs unbearably ticklish.
5948. We continue to peel back layers of attitude and intent to find what truly motivates our children. We glimpse the DNA of identity and marvel. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.