"Little one, come here." I motion to Lucy, fresh as dew, up from her nap. She thumpity-thumps over golden hardwoods, plops in my lap. "You are such a pleasure," I whisper in her ear.
We rock, shoulder to shoulder. Her small voice mimes each swell, "Pleas-ure, pleas-ure..." She calls in the afternoon.
Later I blow a kiss to Jane. She catches it, her smile curving, and blows back a handful. The cogs of the day turn in tandem. Children and studies interweave; chore and play entwine.
"You children are such a pleasure," I call to them, each immeshed in the trailings of afternoon.
Jane smiles from the hearth, catches my eye, "Uh huh," she nods. "I bet."
And the day revolves on, one moment built on the next.
1305. How Lucy loads a sack full of hand-towels to pack for a day of swimming.
1306. Friends who make a whole afternoon of burgers and their pool. And how with all the salads and peach pie we settle in to friendships gone back for years.
1307. Jane's growing understanding, "Jesus, thank-you for dying on the cross and making a bridge so we can come to you. Amen."
1308. Her logic, "Jesus, help Momma to get pregnant more often, so we can have a better family."
1309. How Jack furrows his brow and wrinkles his forehead on how to start a gratitude journal and then decides, "I'm really just actually thankful that you are my mom."
1310. How Lucy holds her baby while she does school work.
1311. Jane's assessment of the chickens, "At night I try to be gentle to unwind them, like ok, it's time to go to bed." She pauses, tilts her head. "They're basically just like kids," she adds.
1312. How Jack trots in from the hen house, "That one isn't mine," he reports, "'cause I checked before I gave it a HUG."
1313. Lulie's prayer, "And when Dad is gone help us to be grateful and not yell for him to come back."
1314. How Jane cries for half-an-hour when all plans to visit my mom and sis-in-laws fall through. And how she's not sour and petulant, just sad, completely sad.
1315. Thick autumn heat and how Jane and I linger on the swings out back. And how she tells me, as far as she's concerned, with babies, the more the better.
1316. More than two gallons of boiled apples Lynn brings up from the orchard and the pints and pints of apple butter, cinnamon everywhere, not a drop wasted.
1317. A whole bag of fresh corn on the cob, ears of all sizes.
1318. How it pops fresh off the cob.
1319. Fresh green beans snapped and ready to simmer.
1320. A bag of pink plums all rolling and bumbling sweet.
1321. Great-Grammie's shining face when Jane recites the first two stanzas of The Tiger by William Blake.
1322. Apple butter on buttery toast, orange overtones clear as bells.
1323. Scrambled eggs with mustard and parmesan.
1324. How Jane and I wrestle out big math ideas. "This is a hard thing to understand," I finally add. And she nods, "Uh-huh. I know 'cause I'm doing it."
1325. Reading a recent pregnancy magazine and concluding I just see the world totally different than they do.
1326. How Lucy says fweet instead of sweet.
1327. All the men and women who gave their lives to rescue people from the twin towers a decade now ago.
1328. Our whole family stilled in Sunday naps.
1329. A 23 quart pressure cooker Craig surprises me with and a recipe book of 400 recipes.
1330. How he makes me laugh until I can't even breath, breathless on all the mirth.
1331. How he prays, out loud , arm around me, when things get hard. And how a cloud always lifts as thick and invisible as my anger.
1332. The profound feeling of being protected.
1333. Making dinner with Craig's mom. How it's like standing on a grown-up's feet learning to dance.
1334. How we all rise early and volunteer as a family this morning, all six of us in the two-year-olds.
1335. How even Lucy, barely three, rises to the occasion.
1336. Golden plums, a whole bucketful. How Craig and Jane and Jack ride four-wheeler up the mountain to pick them in the old orchard. The red plums Lynn adds on top.
1337. How Rosie brushes her hair with Jane's big purple comb and fires Jack's pop-gun.
1338. Buckets and buckets of tomatoes hauled in from our garden.
1339. New Baby all of one inch, heart still beating. And how my tiny baby moves there on the ultrasound monitor. A miracle.
1340. How Craig and I visit over bowls towered with watermelon cubes, backs leaned against kitchen cupboards.
1341. How even the long parts of the day feel easy in those moments.