"I let my grasshopper go," Joe says.
"Oh, good," I say. Craig and I look up from reading morning news. Joe talks with his hands. Already this morning they are smudged with dirt, a dark stripe outlining each fingernail.
"I was feeding him today," he says.
"Yeah?" I say. He nods, hands somewhere around his shoulders.
"If two of them are FIGHTING, they are gonna fight and LAY EGGS," he says, his voice a conspiracy, eyebrows buried in his forehead.
"Oooohh," Craig and I say.
Lucy works on schoolwork at kitchen the table.
"Sometimes," she says, "I wish I was her age." I look up from my Bible.
"Jane?" I say.
"What?" she says.
"Are you talking about Jane?" I lean on an elbow and watch her eyes, exaggerated in size compared to the rest of her face.
"No, MYRA," she says. "I know I would have less school if I was her age but less opportunities."
"Yeah," I say.
"Yup," she says. She nods and submits herself to more work.
"Can I have some bread?" Joe asks somewhere between lunch and dinner.
"No," I say.
"Can I have some stale bread crusts then?" he says.
"No," I say.
"Oh," he says. He frowns, but acquiesces, bumping again into our family rule that you should come to meals actually hungry.
The days snap by, flits in flip book -- I barely remember them as they pass, moments light as feathers. I think of Emily Dickenson:
Hope is a thing with feathers--
that perches in the soul--
and sings the tune without the words--
and never stops -- at all --
Indeed. I memorize what I can before it passes.
6078. Craig changes the brake pads and rotors in the suburban. He and Jack spend Saturday masterminding the process and memorizing it. They save us $200.
6079. The kids learn the value of catching up after a foray in slacking. Shortcuts, there are no shortcuts, just delayed burdens.
6080. All that extra work, the regular schedule with feel like summer free time in comparison.
6081. I draft my sweater pattern and try a second round to see if I wrote it right.
6082. I collect yarn for a third one and more buttons.
6083. I meet a dear friend for coffee.
6084. We have soup bar with my parents. I make a soup. Mom makes a soup. And we mix and match soups and toppings.
6085. Cap-sleeve shirts that are long enough to cover my belly.
6086. Plums. Craig and a couple of kids pick bowls and bowls of plums on the farm.
6087. Tomatoes. "Can I have as many tomatoes as I want as long as I don't go HOGWILD?" Joe says. "Sure," I say. Myra nods over his shoulder and fills her pockets.
6088. "We're getting some of these and pretending they are CANDY BARS," Joe says. He holds up a pear tomato.
6089. I compare notes with another momma who gets headaches. Though far away, the miles feel short.
6090. We finally get the library mostly done. Bliss. We settle in to enjoy it.
6091. The house settles into pockets of order, a coffee table for a puzzle, a sewing table for quilts and bookmarks, a workbench for Craig and Jack, the library. We consider each a great blessing.
6092. We prepare for a season of warm fires and great literature, popcorn and board games, slow evenings and early mornings. We set our minds to work hard and enjoy the moments of rest.