"I can't do it," Lucy says. Basketball under one arm, she frowns an inditement over my basketball instructions.
"Sure you can," I say. "Like this," I position one hand under the ball, the other guiding, and then shoot. Swoosh. "Just practice," I say.
"But I can't do it," she says. She captures the ball and lobs it like a rock. It clatters against the backboard.
"Well, then practice," I say.
"I can't," she says.
"Practice and you will get it."
"BUT I can't do it," she says, her face impenetrable, as if the force of her will could redirect the force of gravity.
"You should probably quit then," I say.
"But I CAN'T do it," she says her shoulders squared up, a tear squeezing out, a huff splayed across the apples of her face, as if helplessness could be blackmail, as if I were a fragile shell of a person and her will could crumple me.
"Ok," I say. "It's time for you to go inside. Put the ball away. Set the timer for ten minutes. And after that, if your attitude is better, you can come back out."
"Oh." Sigh. "Ok." Something of taking the reins over herself, she chases the ball now three houses down the street, dribbles it up, and lopes in the house. Later I find her cheerful, buried in a book, and about half-an-hour of practice behind the other kids. A bur like that in her saddle, she'll be the first one out tomorrow.
It's not the smart or the strong or the clever who win, but the unusual soul who sets their mind to practice. Any talent can be captured by practice.
5824. We complete our kitchen cooking set with the perfect pot to cook barley. Barley, it fills in all the cracks, makes any meal bigger, basically every large family's dream.
5825. New sewing machine needles. I broke five needles in my last project. The mei tei wrap turned out great, the needles not so much. Now I'm armed with jean grade needles.
5826. Bit by bit the family is finding our way back to physical health. The hacking cough, the terrible sinus and ear pain abating. Health never felt so good.
5827. Craig's brother puts up a basketball hoop, and our children discover they LOVE basketball. The whole neighborhood congregates around this new attraction.
5828. "You have to keep pushing down the ball or it will hit you in the nose," Joe narrates dribbling.
5829. Jane and I invent an ice tea recipe where you make it by the glassful. Delicious.
5830. The weather continues to warm up. The sunlight fills our days and makes long tasks seem light work.
5831. We play Bingo with the kids at the nursing home. Craig's mom runs the game. It's a memory to treasure. Great-Grammie sleeps through the whole thing, and then we visit with her.
5832. With wrestling over Jack resumes his weekend routine of cooking family breakfast on Saturdays.
5833. We continue to study and internalize the concept of practice. It makes me long for the hours I didn't practice piano. Even simple repetition is so pretty to me now.
5834. Practice makes easy. I find myself saying this again and again. A simple antidote, an impenetrable fortress.
5835. Another week, thank-you Lord Jesus.