"Well, you BOTH have to work it out with each other," I say. There in the kitchen, Jane crosses her arms.
"But HOW?" she says. She prickles, shrugs off sisterly devotion, and stares at me.
"You BOTH have to actually LOVE the other person," I say.
"But Mom, it won't work," she says. "She won't listen." Slouched on the oatmeal bin opposite her, Lucy frowns, hair wisps around her face. Shoulders sagged, she billows irritation.
"You have FIVE minutes," I say, "then you're BOTH in trouble." I bleep-beep the microwave timer to five minutes. "Solve your problem," I say.
A stockpot of chicken soup bubbles on the stove. I pull barley from the fridge. I shovel soup bowls full, then drown them in broth. Cheese and tortilla chips, I gather the lunch fixin's, let anxiety circle them like wolves.
They posture, circle. Emotion courses. Timer counting down, weight firmly on their shoulders, one finally reaches across that line, lets down all rights to winning. It pierces the bubble. Something better than dominance rushes in.
Three minutes, forty-five seconds. Friendship and humility turn newborn faces toward us.
"I bet you want to hug," I say. I watch the gangle of arms for daggers of resentment. They're just arms and elbows. "Good," I say. "Good job, you guys."
The battle dumped in their laps arises as camaraderie. Conflict resurrects as devotion. We carry on gem in hand.
5536. "God is holding the world with his hands," Myra says. "And the Holy Spirit," Joe says.
5537. "It is cute outside," Joe says. "The wind is cute."
5538. "In heaven you will be a kid," he says to me, "and I think there will be a couch for you to flip off of." He somersaults off the red plaid couch.
5539. Rain. Wildfires ravage though our area. Smoke fills the valleys. Rain finally comes, wipes the air clean.
5540. A couple nuggets of fabric to add to my stash. I plan two or three quilts in my mind.
5541. I get to see my mom.
5542. New jars to ferment vegetables. I do the research and the kids chop the veggies as fast as I can process them.
5543. I finish a sweater and a bonnet for Betsy just before the weather turns. She wears them to church.
5544. I start a new sweater from an old knitting book. It's a vertical knit. I've never done one like that before.
5545. I turn my focus to being a strong but benevolent leader, not mean, not permissive, intentional and immovable.
5546. We come together as a family, each person an irreplaceable piece.