"I don't really mind that it's 7:32," Lucy says. The night before her birthday, we sit in the fading light, pajamas on, teeth brushed, the feeling of almost-nine-years-old there thick between each molecule of air.
"Hmm," I say.
"It does mean that I CAN get up at 5:32, if I want to," she says.
"Hmm," I say.
Every year we wake the birthday child with singing. Happy Birthday to you... Except. Lucy gets up at 5:32, well, when she heads to bed at 7:32 she does.
"I have a lot of books on my bed," she says, "I might just get up and read until 6:30, or whenever..." She trails off, a half shrug, soft affection toward the one of us that isn't a morning person.
"Hmm," I say. "Sounds good."
But the good, the best part, is how she snuggles under my arm, leans into my torso, and closes her eyes. An exchange of warmth, a stilling of the whole room, it's better than a birthday. The mingling of our two worlds settles until we're breathing the same cadence. She does this, brings stillness to all she touches, a gentle lulling of peace.
6261. Spices, a fresh restocking of kitchen spices.
6262. A huge stock pot full of soup.
6263. Time at the park with a friend and our children.
6264. The kids continue to prepare for next Saturday's plant sale.
6265. Lucy turns nine.
6266. The children all turn another week older. We bear with each other's flaws, ask forgiveness when we mess us, and carry on as ones who carry each other's burdens.