"Can I run this over to Logan and Thad's?" Joe says. He holds up a cucumber, pickle sized, thrust up like the bounty it is, snapped fresh from HIS vine.
"Um, sure," I say. The evening sprint to get dinner on the table in full roar, I stop to look at his plaid shorts and shark shirt. Deciding he's passed the visual exam, "Myra, you and Jane can go with him," I say.
"OK," they cheer and peel off formation. Everyone playing a role, I calculate their absence, nod, and they're off.
"Why can't I go?" Lucy says. There, slack at the stove, shoulders sagged, she peers across the room to me.
"I'm going to have you help me set the table," I say.
"What's your reasoning?" she says.
"Well," I say, "I think Myra and Joe can be kind of hard to manage, and I think Jane is a little better at that, because she is older, so I sent her."
"Oh," she says, and with almost no pause, "I guess she is more mature than me." For the sheer guilelessness of her words, I slow in the thrum-drum pulse of dinner prep and look at her, something so still and peaceful.
"You are very mature for your age," I say. I pat her head. She reaches for the dishes. We weave a dinner spread in tandem. Something akin to a gong of love reverberates between us.
5525. Joe jumps and dances circles around Betsy. She giggle her applause.
5526. "You read to go?" Craig asks. "Yeah," Joe says. Dressed in just a button-up shirt, he pauses, shakes his head. "Oh! I forgot my shoes," he says.
5527. The children begin school chores and a sense of order ensues.
5528. I begin rolling all the yarn in the house into balls. Even the old cheap stuff looks jubilant rolled into a perfect ball.
5529. My mom and Craig's dad celebrate birthdays.
5530. Jack's praying mantis dies. The Lord provides another, beloved creature that it is to Jack.
5531. I make friends with a new neighbor on my morning run.
5532. I buy five boxes of books for $20 at a garage sale, two sets of encyclopedias included. Encyclopedias, we've already used both sets. Bliss.
5533. Craig takes me on a date. Thrift shopping and a movie, it's the good ol' days.
5534. We settle into the anticipation of a new school year. Books begin arriving at the house. The children organize their supplies. The privilege of learning buoys us all.
5535. We thank the Lord for another year together.