"Do you think I should make this for the fair or just so that I like it," Jane says. She pokes a darning needle through the bald-face of a knit bunny. She pinches the seams tighter and squints at the nose placement. She knit the bunny.
"I don't know," I say. I micro-turn a red yarn-ball, wind away, making a floppy skein into a perfect ball. Neither of us look up.
"'Cause I don't think those are going to be the same thing," she says.
"Yeah," I say.
"Seems like people now a days are like, What's the CUTEST?" she says. "And I'm like, What's the most LITERARY?" She tilts her head, studies a knotted blue eye she's secured on one side, gauges its placement.
"Yep," I say. "Me too."
"The cute stuff usually isn't very literary," she says.
"They like the stuff that's more cute, and you like the stuff that's more REAL," Jack chimes in.
"Yup," Jane says.
"I mean cute's good to an extent..." Jack trails off.
Projects. Conversation. We sew up the evening in leisure. Jane embroiders the face on her bunny. Lucy crochets a dolly dress. Jack turns a rope into a basket. Myra snuggles into Craig's chest, the two of them slumped into the soft gold couch, limp with sleep. Joe jumps off the table bench, thunks the floor with cannonball weight, grins and tweedles Betsy's belly.
The evening comes in for a soft landing. We work projects and visit. Cute. Literary. We map the world and choose our sides.
5547. Betsy cuts another tooth and rolls and rolls with the agility of a gymnast.
5548. Fall bbq and family gathering.
5549. I start knitting a winter coat for Betsy. A third of the way in, I realize I'm short on yarn. In a flurry I find the very last skein at the yarn shop and buy it up, and on clearance too.
5550. Magic erasers.
5551. Betsy plays peek-a-boo and exerts her opinion with increasing clarity.
5552. The children stray from our school schedule and get in trouble. The next morning I awake to fried eggs, a full breakfast, and repentant hearts.
5553. "You take such good care of me," I tell Jack. "You remind me of your daddy," I say. "Yes," he says under his breath and pumps his fist.
5554. I give all the boys hair cuts.
5555. The weather turns to rain and we eat soup. Chicken soup with barley.
5556. Basil blueberry beet salad, the latest at our kitchen. The kids and I love it.
5557. Fried chicken on the farm and the family that went with it.
5558. Jack dotes on his pet praying mantis.
5559. Rosie sends us a beautiful bouquet of family pics.
5560. We settle into the school year, enrobe in new routines, and make learning our work.