"Joe, would you clear off the table for me," I say.
"But I wanted to play you chess," he says.
"Well," I say, "just put everything else away."
I settle into auto pilot, check the girls dialing back a disagreement in the bedroom, then eat the remnants my lunch still beach on the pull-out cutting board.
"Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne," Joe sings. He lines up chess pieces and sings. "Hark how the hea-ven-ly anthem drowns all music buuuut its own." He's up on the table, crouched over the chess board. He fishes a full set from the big black bowl.
"King," he says. He pauses, the black king. He gives it a shake and sets it in its square. "The king is in his castle," he says. "The KING is in his castle." He places piece by piece. Absent-minded, song effuses from him the scent of fresh cut grass.
"There," he sets the last white pawn. "This game is so good. I'm gonna be WHITE," he says.
He piles the other chess boards and the big black bowl, balances, then lumbers toward the stairs.
"Muscles," he says as he goes by. "SEE," he says. "Do you SEE my muscles?" he says. He wobbles and bobbles the Dr. Seusian stack, pauses. "Mom, can you carry this down?" he says.
"Just do it one at a time," I say. "Here," I pluck the bowl off the top.
He tritt-trots downstairs and back, then clucks his tongue as he waits in the sunroom for me to finish my work. He dives into a pile of decorative pillows shored up in the corner.
"Mom, Jonah is dead," he says. "Mom, did you know Jonah is dead?"
"How did Jonah get dead?" he says.
"He just got old."
"Oh, or MAYBE the fish..." he trails on. Sprites of commentary flit in every direction.
"Here, put this on." I nudge pj's across the floor to Joe. "And then," I start.
"And then I can have MILK?" he blusters.
"And then you can have some milk," I say. "I said you could so you can."
"Yeah," he says, "'cause you CAN'T change your mind."
"Well, I could change my mind," I say.
"But," he nods, raises one shoulder, "your 'yes' shall be 'yes' and your 'no' shall be 'no'."
"Yeah, I guess that's true." He scoops up the jammies, trots off. "Don't forget your pants," I call after him.
Your 'yes' shall be 'yes' and your 'no' shall be 'no'. He plucks it out of thin air. But, there it was the whole time, theology ever-present, the empty nothing holding all the air in the room.
5760. Green tea. Chai tea. Craig and I get each other tea for Valentine's Day.
5762. Fleece lined leggings. They buffer the wet cold of almost-spring.
5763. Spaghetti noodles. They fill in the cracks in meal planning.
5764. World Magazine. I discover a late Christmas gift, perfect for election year.
5765. Jack wraps up one wrestling league to participate in another.
5766. Jane, Jack, and Lu but heads in conflict. They finally distill the solution: start the morning with Bible reading and prayer and return to it if necessary.
5767. The slow plod of winter-almost-over, Jack and I dream of our spring garden.
5768. As days gradually grow longer we set our minds to be diligent in the small things.