"Why does Emma and Jack get to do two pages of writing?" Lulie plops her three-year-old self next to me on the hearth, warm fire at our backs. She blinks her wide eyes.
"Do you want to do two pages?" I tilt my head.
She nods. "I already did one."
I curl my back so my blue jersey shirt pulls tight and warm against me. "Ok, you'll have to do another one," I say.
She nods her head, bobbling and serious. "I will," she says.
Later children gallop through the house. The kids hang on for dear life, piggyback on Jane. All bomble and chortle, they climb off the ottoman onto her back and thumb-drum the house full of squeal and gallop.
She dumps them in bed for naps and soft as a bunny pads back out to the living room.
"You just have to enjoy 'em when they're little," she says to me. She shakes her head, "Each year just feels like half a second." We nod in that grown-up way, let an adult moment pass between us.
Half a second. Grown-up moments spliced in between.
1708. Nutmeg logs. Christmas cookies, little brown logs that taste like butter rum.
1709. Pulled pork and black beans Brazilian style, a whole week's worth.
1710. How Myra puts a pair of Lucy's unders on her baby doll.
1711. Janie's hands rough with callouses.
1712. Expressions of genuine respect from her. The growing ability to risk social awkwardness to show respect.
1713. How every time I'm pregnant I'm a little more aware that this body won't last forever and savor the moments.
1714. How when I go to bed upset at Craig, I remember all the ways he overlooks things I do and loves me anyway. How I'm not mad anymore.
1715. Knitting with my mom.
1716. Lucy's admission, "I was getting out of bed to be naughty," when the babysitter tells on her. Her sorry note.
1717. How Jane points to Jack riding piggyback, "There's a backseat driver!"
1718. How half through tidying the living room Lucy announces, "Jane and me are just enjoying the time we are laying here [on the ottoman while everyone else cleans]."
1719. How Jane opens the cottage cheese at dinner, furrows her brow and reads, "LOWFAT. There's not much fat in this. Guys, I'm sorry."
1720. Roasted nuts crackling as they cool.
1721. The snarl of wrapping paper spread across the living room. And how the kids keep wrapping up their toys to give to each other.
1722. When I ask why, Jack replies, "Well, we've got other ones. And I know Lucy will share. She's really nice."
1723. And how when I suggest we take away his remote control car if he's naughty he adds, "Well, good luck with that. It doesn't really belong to me anymore," before getting in trouble.
1724. Jane's, "You did a great job, bud," in response to Jacks masking tape encrusted wrap job.
1725. How when I fall into an afternoon nap down on the farm Craig's parents somehow fill in all the gaps and keep the world spinning.
1726. How Jane tries to talk politics, "I hope someone like Aunt Janey and Uncle James gets voted president when Obama gets voted out."
1727. Jack's conclusion, "Mom, sewing machines are REALLY expensive. They are like a thousand dollars, 'cause I know they're really expensive -- like a thousand or a hundred."
1728. How Myra tries to pull her red corduroy pants onto Madeline, the rag doll.
1729. Jack's joyous, "I heard an egg rolling around so I just reached under the chicken and grabbed it," as he bounds in from the hen house.
1730. How Craig surprises me with an early Christmas gift, and how I repeat over and over like a parrot, "I can't believe you did that!"
1731. Letting this Christmas season pass slow and even, full of presents wrapped with masking tape and cookies with finger pokes in the frosting.