"I think cleaning the toilet is one of my favorite things," Myra says.
Crouched over the bathroom sink, mascara wand in hand, I pause and look at her. She stretches out a ponytail holder, watching it a couple of inches from her face. There waiting on the closed toilet for me to refresh her hair, freckles, red hair splayed sideways out of yesterday's ponytail, she stops and blinks at me.
"Wow. Why?" I say.
"I don't know," she chirps.
"Oh," I say. I stare, consider finishing my mascara, but just watch her instead. All set for church except for her hair, I marvel at the electric display, curls grown by sleep and smeared into frizz and knots.
"'Cause, it's sort of like running, ya know," she says.
"Oh," I say. "Running. What do you mean?" She pinches the rubber band with the tips of her fingers, willowly frog like fingers, and stretches the band wide then returns it to size.
"Like how you go for run and you get your energy out," she says. "Like that, cleaning the toilet's like that."
"I see," I say. "Running. Like that."
Common sense. She says these things as if they were self-evident, obvious, pedestrian. And all the while I trace the unexpected arc. Cleaning the toilet is like running, the best; it gets your energy out -- the perfect solution for all those days I have too much energy.
5874. "When you're the pregnant lady, you get more chocolate than other people," I tell Joe. "I know," he says.
5875. Green beans and okra. "These are my favorite," Myra says of the hot dish our friends bring to dinner. "You have to learn to make these," Jack says.
5876. We meet new friends, and they come to dinner. We talk theology, children, and life. It's a feast of words and food.
5877. We discover Betsy is terrible at sharing. We never noticed that all her favorite toys are the ones no one likes, no one except for the guests' kids who liked them too.
5878. A neighbor, expert landscaper, pulls a stump for us. It looks like a miracle, the shaken out stump sitting there next to the sandy hole, not even a leaf of Jack's garden nudged sideways.
5879. We go through the childbirth-like-pains of cleaning the house as a family. It ends with new requirements for the children: don't even ask to play outside if your room isn't clean and your chores aren't immaculate.
5880. The weather gradually becomes warmer and sunnier. Rumors of summer begin to circulate. We finish our last school unit. A last little bit of testing, and we're don'e for the summer.
5881. A dear friend's mother and family friend passes on to heaven. We heave heavy hearts for the loss. Even with the hope of heaven, the pain of loss is so present. In the middle of it all, my parents join us for dinner. It's as if we are all bearing witness to her passing.
5882. Craig and I visit with the neighbors. Jane trails along with us mostly listening but jumping in with humor and comments. I begin to picture her as a grown woman.
5883. With the house tidied and clean everything feels simpler. I make plans to spring clean and give away more stuff.
5884. When our grain mill begins to have problems, we find another one on ebay for a smashing price. It works better than I could have imagined. Jane takes over grinding and bread.
5885. When Craig and I wish we could order in pizza or cheezy sticks, we have fresh bread with garlic butter instead and it's ten times more delicious.
5886. Craig's mom takes me and three of the kids out for the kids' birthdays. Coldstone Creamery, new running shoes, it's a lovely time.
5887. Craig's Grammie celebrates her 101st birthday. She's so happy when we sing Happy Birthday to her.
5888. Another week settles at our feet. We thank the Lord that we are alive and content. We await expectantly on this next season.