"What sort of things was I saying when I was so mad this week?" I ask Craig.
He settles into the sunroom's brown recliner, heaves shoulders back, reclines, "That is a good question."
"You don't remember?"
He shakes his head.
And so it is. Amid slammed doors and crossed arms, stomping feet and furrowed brow, one image persists: Jack's voice heralded from the kitchen table.
In the building volcano of that morning, I staccato over hardwood floors, punctuate out irritation to pierce mountains.
And from the table he calls. "Momma, Momma," he calls, "I drew a picture for you. Did you know I drew a picture?" He calls, a trifling chirp in the back of my mind. "Momma, I drew a picture of Jesus dying on the cross for you."
The morning sways, a ship at sea. A sideways glance, Jack's drawing: all pencil scrawled, but little crayon-drops of blood on Jesus' hands and feet, his head. In small degrees we finally settle, pebbles at the bottom of the ocean.
Like surf rolling in, I build apology on apology, smooth our ragged shores.
It's three days later when I remember, Jack's call, Momma, I drew a picture for you, the eye of the storm.
1420. A phrase still ringing in my ears, "Well, -- really, you wouldn't be having any problem at all if you were completely unselfish." (Thank-you, dear friend!)
1421. And our children's wide eyes when I tell them these words, "She was right. She is a good friend to me. I was having a problem this morning because I was selfish."
1422. The gift of a pizza.
1423. Women friends who listen and empathize and remind me, showing respect is more important than getting what I want.
1424. How once an argument is settled Craig forgets it as soundly as God -- except for all the funny parts that we laugh over for years.
1425. How he mimics my antics, caricature complete, but never criticizes me at all.
1426. My father's words years ago, they resurface when I need them, "Men interpret respect as love." And how it's so true, great marriages hinge on unquenchable respect.
1427. A whole day out with my mom, my birthday present.
1428. How Craig says, "I just tried to make everything easy for you. I'm so glad you got to go out with your mom."
1429. New silver flats and tiny socks.
1430. Material for aprons.
1431. Jane, head bowed in prayer when I come to discipline her for disobeying.
1432. How Jack hops on one foot as he clears the table.
1433. Jack tugging at my elbow, "If you would like some of my SweetTarts I would love to give you some."
1434. Jane's prayer when we notice a broken part on the window of Daddy's truck. "Jesus, please help the robbers notice that part and change their heart and say, 'I'm not gonna break in.' Amen."
1435. Lucy's rendition, "Please help the robbers stay away, and please help them to be okay when we kill them. Amen."
1436. How Craig fixes the offending part.
1437. How Lucy tots out, a dolly wrapped in a plastic sheet. "Mom," she whispers, "I got a newborn baby." How she pats the stiff sheet, "She's got her blankie." Another pat and frown, "It's kinda dusty."
1438. How I probe to see what Jane looks for in a friend. "The fruits of the Spirit," she says.
1439. How my mom helps me to wrestle our sunroom into open spaces and small tasks.
1440. The boxes we donate to charity. And how I panic as the attendant comes to unload the car but feel light and free as I drive away.
1441. The intimacy of working side by side through exhaustion and chocolate with another person.
1442. How my mom knows what things I'll actually miss in 30 years.
1443. And learning to see through her eyes, the landscape of several paces ahead.
1444. Her trip to Africa.
1445. A birthday party, and how the gathering of family is still good, better than ever, after all these years.
1446. Reading The Help aloud with Craig, the folds of a good story, and how we laugh out loud as we read.
1447. A whole cookie sheet of roasted almonds.
1448. All the mercies of friendship and love, that catch me when I fall, a safety net.
1449. And how after a whole week of hanging on by a thread, I finally see it: apparently a very strong thread.