"So, what's something you hope happens this next year?" I say.
Jack in the passenger seat, me in the driver's scooted way back, we balance pizza on our knees. Paper plates barely thicker than coffee filters show signs of grease leaking through.
"Um," Jack says. It's his birthday. We're on a date, napkins piled on the console.
"You can think while you eat your fuel," I say. "Jet fuel," pizza.
"Hmm," he says around a bite. "I hope I get better at sharing," he pauses to swallow, a deliberate chin tuck. "And being all the fruit of the Spirit," he says.
I nod. "Mmmm," I say, his answer as deliberate as that bite. "That's a good one. Me too."
We shuffle pizza from one knee to the next. Leaned over, dabbing grease and sauce at the corners of our mouths, careful to keep piece B from falling off as we eat piece A, a bronze awning reflects sepia over us.
"So how are you going to make the fruit of the Spirit happen, big guy?" I say, my pizza long gone. He glides an enormous bite to one cheek, then swallows.
"Pray about it," he says, "and try to do it." Conversation is like this with him, one gentle lob, and then another, back and forth, forth and back.
"That's a good one," I say.
"'Cause that's how you do it," he says. "You don't just do it perfectly or just become all rotten. That's why they call it fruit. It starts green and has to ripen." Pizza forgotten for a moment, he stares straight out the window, scans the horizon.
"That's true," I say. He takes another bite, a vineyard of ideas elapsed in that moment. I watch smile lines at the corners of his eyes.
"That's why I kind of like that it's called fruit." he says.
Fruit. It's a year of fruit.
Jack turns nine.
5511. Jack turns nine.
5512. I turn 37.
5513. Betsy shows great affection for daily routines and giggles if we change them the slightest bit.
5514. My legs feel better each passing day.
5515. The kids clean the house so the Tuesday Girls (and kids) can come over.
5516. The children continue a summer society of paper airplanes, handmade weapon fare, book club conference calls with the Dishman Hills Bookclub, Hardy Boy books read by the armful, and a menagerie if hand caught bugs in mason jars with holes punched in the lids.
5517. The girls and I plan a last summer project of lap quilts. When we shop for them, they get the fabric cut themselves.
5518. The summer continues to roll by in the strange combination of a trickle and freight train.
5519. We set our hearts to enjoy every minute. The art of joy interlaces our moments.