"Jesus, thank-you that I'm never, just NEVER, being naughty," Joe prays. "Thanks for getting me stronger," he says.
I nod, my eyes squeezed shut, peeking through eyelashes. Stronger not good-er. His face earnest all around squinched shut eyes, I take in his countenance and pray a secret prayer to be stronger myself.
The day wheedles on. We set a board game across the table complete with an infinity of tiny pieces that tinkle to the ground in shifts as tiny elbows try to squeeze in and take a turn.
"Myra," Jack says, "DON'T point with your middle finger. I used to do it too. Looks a little worse than I thought."
"Oh," she says. "Ok." An offense akin to an untied tennis shoe, they nod, pass the dice, and tally up another turn.
Later, pizza splayed across the dining table, crumbs, a pie tin, a paring knife, a jar of pizza sauce spoon still in it, the night blooms in obvious pleasure. The children clear dishes and wipe down the kitchen.
"Here," Jack says. He reaches around Jane and plucks debris out of the kitchen drain; a reservoir of dark water begins to drain.
"Thanks," Jane says disgust drawn up at the corners of her mouth.
"If you had to clean it out everyday like me," he says, "it wouldn't send a shiver down your spine." He grins at her. She rolls her bottom lip into an almost-smile.
Easy. Practice makes easy. And kindness, there, elastic between them, stretches way farther than you'd ever think possible.
6280. Applesauce, fresh made by Jack (after he finished making a pan of brownies) -- he's a chef in the making.
6281. Summer skirts. Sigh. Optimistic, I know. One can hope.
6282. A huge colander, the kind that can hold a whole pot of cooked barley.
6283. Betsy starts to get the hang of peeing in the potty. Bliss.
6284. Jack continues to work hard wrestling, gleaning character from each encounter as winner or loser.
6285. I live through a bout of mastitis complete with chills, sweats, and body aches.
6286. With herculean effort, I shoehorn in time to knit. Second sleeve on bumble sweater almost done.
6287. Everyone continues to grown in self-discipline. Most of all me. Being the example really is trial by fire.