"I'm wondering, at the store," Janie asks, "why do they have eyelashes?" She nuzzles her mop of curls on my shoulder. We cuddle on the couch, a pile of laundry, pushed to one side.
I wrinkle my chin, eyelashes? Oh, the fake ones next to the nail polish. "Did you think they cut them off or pulled them out of a person?"
"Uh huh," she nods.
"Ya know how your baby doll has eyelashes?" She nods again. "Someone made them, like those."
"Oh." We rest our feet on the coffee table, toes pointed up.
I blink. "People that have really little eyelashes," I add, "get them and glue them on." She watches my face as if I were a documentary. "Long eyelashes are considered pretty."
"Oh." She squeezes closer to me.
"Do you think they're pretty?" I ask.
She frowns, "Uh, not really."
"Probably never really thought about it, huh?"
"Not really," she shakes her head. "It's not not-pretty, and it's not pretty." Eyebrows raised, she shrugs, "It's nothing."
She turns, faces my green eyes, "Do you think it's pretty?"
I hesitate. And then, "Yeah, I like long lashes."
"Do you like to look at people with long lashes?" she probes.
"Yeah. I think long lashes are pretty."
The moment trails off. A simple exchange. The ironing out of an idea. She squints and tries to see it -- where the lashes fit in.
So we excavate a little more -- a little more each day. And at every turn, she watches, weighs, searches my every move, patient for clues.
Later we pray the night in.
"Thank-you that Daddy teaches us every good thing," Janie lilts, "and that he works so hard at work so he can take care of us and we all don't have to die. Amen."
While I breathe in their prayers, I marvel at weight we wield.
1110. How Jack crawls up next to me when I nap on the couch.
1111. How Lucy tries to wrestle Jane's running shoes on to baby Rose.
1112. How Jane and I run the whole SpoKenya Run together, all 4 miles of it.
1113. How she hated it when people passed her and how she furrowed her brow and spindled elbows and ankles to motion when I commented, "Ya can't say you ran the whole thing unless you actually jog the whole time - even if it's slow."
1114. This girl's will of steel. And how when I bump against it, Craig reminds me, lead, lead, LEAD her. His encouragement, she really does want to please you, just keep leading.
1115. How at the beginning of the race Auntie Libby asks Jane, "So, what's your goal?" And how Janie shrugs, and thinks, decides, "I want to run the last part of the race fast."
1116. And how I tumble that goal around my head for the next day and think, lead, lead Bethany. A goal. So simple.
1117. Jane's prayer, "And help us to love you. And thank-you for the SpoKenya Run. Help me to do a good job. Amen."
1118. Jack's, "And like Jane said, help her to win the SpoKenya Run. Amen."
1119. Baby fingers wrinkled as prunes.
1120. How I urge the children, "Think about what kind of person you want to be," when they misbehave. And while we discipline and talk and pray, they gradually get it. Think about what kind of person I want to BE. Me too.
1121. Craig back from work away from home, and how we chorus back and forth, "It's so good to have you home."
1122. Janie's assessment, "Daddy, the days you were home were good, but the days you weren't home, it felt like something was missing." So true.
1123. The weight of a Godly father.
1124. How my father still casts a long shadow in our life. How you never stop watching them.
1123. Jane officially 7.
1124. Family gathered to celebrate.
1125. A swim with cousins.
1126. A swim with friends.
1127. The children's bald-faced trust in me when I teach them to swim.
1128. Armfuls of lettuce delivered fresh from the farm by Craig's mom.
1129. Our chickies a month old and friendly.
1130. Dinner washed down with mouthfuls of cherries.
1131. My momma home safe.