"There's a girl in class that always says I'm out," Janie says from the back seat. "No matter how I hit the ball, even if I hit it perfect, she just says I'm out." Her feet bobble against my back.
"You should tell Daddy." I accelerate to forty-five and then ease up to four over the speed limit.
She watches pine trees swoop by. "No, I can put up with it," she offers. I lean slightly to frame her face in the rearview mirror.
"Why?" I say.
As if I asked her the color of the sky, she cadences out, "'Cause if I can put up with it, why get someone in trouble?"
And for a moment I see it, the long streaming trails of patience her father has cast across the sky all these years -- patience with me.
She leans an elbow on the armrest. We whiz past a reduced speed limit sign. I let off the gas, and we coast through a green light.
Patience. Long-suffering. No one does that anymore. I wonder how we all got so entitled.
1492. Jane's quip, "In the car you can't talk about things you don't want me to know, 'cause I don't usually really talk. I'm just listening."
1493. How Jack grabs my hand in Costco, "But you're nice," he says. "You're slow, but you're nice." I look up to see our rabble disappear around the next isle.
1494. Coffee with my mom in a small window of time before she flies to Africa for a month.
1495. How Myra Rose opens up her mouth and points inside when she's hungry.
1496. Her devotion to teeth brushing and toothpaste, especially toothpaste.
1497. Jack's, "Momma how did you get to be such a good driver?" when we play the question game at dinner and Craig's ensuing belly laughs.
1498. Lucy's determination, "I want to wash our jammies once a year."
1499. Her raised eyebrows when she vies for my attention, "Can you see me in the little corner of your eye?"
1500. Craig's list of 10 things he admires about me. And how each one is completely me, not some version of me that I wish I was.
1501. How Lucy sings, "Blessing God, blessing god. Blessing God, blessing God..." in three year old soprano while she works a puzzle.
1502. How she says her baby doesn't poop.
1503. How she kisses me when I tell her to be quiet in church.
1504. How she smells like the fall wind when she bounds inside.
1505. How she switches to, "Strong and mighty, strong and mighty..." in high soprano. "I'm singing like in church," she says.
1506. Family pictures with Auntie Rosie and Uncle Peter.
1507. How we all settle into our regular selves and smile our real smiles for Aunt Rose. And how we laugh and laugh when Uncle Peter plays jester with non-breakable camera equipment. The fun of good company. A pack of lifesavers.
1508. Uncle Don's 80th birthday party and the kids first ever restaurant buffet.
1509 How Ellin watches over our youngsters like a mother hen.
1510. Two library books returned on time.
1511. The playroom tidy enough to see the sea foam rug.
1512. A new pair of shoes, handed down from a friend, goldish-silver with a big flower on top -- perfect for Myra Rose.
1513. A whole bunch of darning needles at an estate sale.
1514. Three new suitcases, $3 each, and how Craig refurbishes the green one when one of the kids pulls it through dog pooie.
1515. Sitting in church with Craig, an arm around each kid. How they listen a little more each time.
1516. Bacon and eggs, havarti cheese.
1517. Huckleberry Finn and Jane's dropped jaw as I read about his dad saying he'll whip Huck for going to school.
1518. Teaching the kids about little lies -- how the little, teeny, tiny lies are the tell sign of people you can't trust, how you should never lie to make yourself look better.
1519. Thrift shopping and estate saling, eating out and spending a whole day together just the six of us.
1520. How Jack picked all the tomatoes out of the garden for me.
1521. E-mail updates from my Dad and Mom in Africa.
1522. Janie's response when I burst into anger at something small, "God probably wants you acting this way, doesn't he? He probably does."
1523. The humility that follows.