"Nope." Across the table Lucy cuts a floppy chunk of oatmeal with her spoon. "I don't love you because you're good," I say. "I love you because you're my child."
She fishes the oatmeal lump out of her bowl, eats it. "Oh." She peels up more congealed mush, flops it over, pauses. "When I am a grown up," she says, "I might be like that."
I watch her hold her spoon as if she's forgotten it. "I bet you will."
Like a fermata the moment passes and the chink of spoons keeps time for the morning.
2096. How Jack lets the girls wear his wrestling metals, and they all pretend they are cops.
2097. How the children spend the first hours of Spring Break trying to dig a hole to water.
2098. Lucy's assessment of how babies are born, "There's a lock on Mom's tummy so the baby won't come out when you go pee-pee or poo-poo. Mom, what kind of lock is it?"
2099. How when I worry over Joe's birth, Craig throws his hands in the air and says, "This is gonna be FUN." And how I start to think, this is gonna be fun. And it is.
3000. Healthy baby boy, smooth birth, great doctor, wonderful nurse.
3001. My beautiful mother-in-law who ably cares for our children while we are in the hospital, even cleans the house.
3002. How my parents are both at the birth and bring treats, how the whole day unfurls like a parachute to catch me.
3003. The gift of a phone.
3003. Jack's affectionate, "Your tummy's still pretty big, though not as big as it was," when we get home from the hospital.
3004. The new garden and all the help we've had planning and building.
3005. Craig tilling the dirt and digging worms for the kids.
3006. Orange terra cotta plates they pile the worms to feed them to the chickens.
3007. How they find a row of last year's carrots buried in the garden and turn them in the dirt, orange and green speckles in the soil.
3008. Jack's conclusion at breakfast, "If you ate 20 bananas THAT would probably fill you up. I said 20."
3009. Jane in from out back, "Momma, it's HOT out. I'm just sitting in the shade with Jack and his chicken sweating."
3010. How Myra slips into snow boots and a bathrobe when she hears Jack say he's going outside.
3011. Lucy's charge to one of the other kids during a board game, "FIX your attitude."
3012. Craig building the brick retaining wall for our new garden, the children a rodeo of fun at his elbows. Did I mention the nursery blocks weigh 80 lbs. each? Near as we can tell he moved over six tons of stone in one day.
3013. Myra's upgrade to a diaper and pink cowboy boots as the work wears on.
3014. Dedicating baby Joe at church and the cloud of witnesses that join us.
3015. Family gathered for lunch after and how everyone brings everything and we just come with the baby and the kids and let the afternoon run long.
3016. Finding Christ's love at every turn in meals for our family, pots of soup, sandwiches, chicken, pies, gifts for every one of us, conversations and encouragement, friendship and the never ending chorus: You are LOVED. At every turn I am humbled and filled.