"So what can I pray for for you?" I say. The glow of two miles flushed on our faces, Jane and I make the turn onto our street.
"Well," she says, "kind and gentle, to be kind and gentle."
"Me too," I say. "Jesus," I pray right there, eyes open, the gentle cadence of our steps marking witness to our words, "I pray that you would do this thing inside of Jane and inside of me. Please grow up this fruit of your Spirit inside of us. Please help us to be gentle and kind."
The steps mark out a lull there between us, a gentle meter to hold our words, netlike, invisible, as comforting as a heartbeat.
"Yes, Jesus," she finally says. "I pray you help me to be gentle and kind and not be like: You were mean to me so SMACK on-the-side-of-the-head, I'm gonna be mean to you because you must LIKE it. I'll show you what it's like. Help me not to do that. Help me to be gentle and to be kind. I love you, Jesus. Amen."
"Amen," I say.
We walk up the steep, steep driveway, let the slackening pace carry us, coast us home. We slide in. My arms encircle her almost-woman-self.
"Love you," I say. A kiss planted on the top of her head, I memorize this slow and conscious turning toward each other, the miraculous wings of independence fluttering there behind her.
6251. A dear friend surprises me with a box of the most lovely, resplendent, hand-me-downs. It's such a big box, I can't believe she mailed it. Joe splits his face in half with a smile.
6252. Dear sisters-in-law continue reach open arms to me, bless me with their children, and their love.
6253. Yarn, brown sweater yarn finds its way to our home.
6254. I exchange texts with a soul sister until we can meet up for reals and compare notes on the world.
6255. My small group of 16 years has a mini-reunion.
6256. My mom and I exchange writing, Buoyed along on words and images, meter and lyric, we compare our measurements of the long, long circle of the horizon. We smooth out renderings of life and pass them back and forth.
6257. Myra turns 7. The miracle of 7 unfolds there before our eyes all red hair and easy smile. I pull up a dusty seven year old inside of me, shake her off, and try her on for size. Yup, still carefree and light-footed. Makes for a lovely date with Myra.
6258. Summer comes racing in, hot enough to pinken cheeks, and fill the greenhouse with life-giving humidity. It's been long in coming. I just want to sit super still and soak it all up.
6259. I feel the anticipation of my children taking flight over the next decade. There before me, I set my heart to this new way of being, this careful opening of my hands to let the children become adults. Terrifying and exhilarating.
6260. I count the continual presence of Craig next to me a great joy and comfort.