"Jack, go sit on my bed." My back to the computer, I look over at Jack.
"What Momma?" He blinks, meets my gaze from the corner of his eye. Eyebrows up, again he blinks.
"Go sit on my bed." I watch him out of the top of my eyes, wrinkle my forehead.
His neck stiff like a marionette he nods, "Ok."
I turn back to RedBox and un-pause a movie trailer. It rumbles on. Craig calls. I place a movie order for date night.
I put a white coffee cup in the dishwasher. In my mind's eye I see it again, Jack peeking around the corner. I wipe a dried puddle of coffee off the counter, click the dishwasher shut. I walk to the bedroom and replay again how he looked at me out of the corner of his eyes.
"Jack," tears drip crooked streaks down his cheeks. I sit down next to him. "Jack, do you remember when you found out that a house can burn down?"
I hold my eyebrows up. He nods. "Yeah." Another tear darts down his cheek.
"And how terrible that felt, and you just wished you didn't know?" I watch blue veins in the iris of his eyes sharp and distinct, each eye a lake of tears. He nods again. "But Mommy and Daddy were able to handle it because it was a grown-up idea?"
"Yeah," he nods.
I wrinkle my forehead, "Do you know why I don't want you to watch those snippets on the computer?"
"Those snippets have grown-up ideas in them that will make you feel terrible like that."
"I want to protect you from ideas like that." I stare into his unblinking gaze. "Honey, I was checking to find a good movie for Mommy and Daddy to watch, and I don't know which ones will have grown-up ideas in them like that until I check."
"When you grow up you'll be able to handle grown-up ideas," I slide my arm around his shoulders. "But you know I still have to protect myself," I add, "from other ideas, bad ideas. And you will too." I squeeze him close. He snuffs, leans his head on me.
"One question," he blubbers, still wrangling a squall of emotion.
"What?" I strain to cipher his words.
"One question, how do you get those ideas out once they are in your head?" He rounds his eyes into perfect blue moons.
I tilt my head, lean close. "Well, the truth is," I say, "you can't. You just have to learn to live with them." We let that sit for a minute. "That's why we want to protect you," I say into those big moons of eyes. He blinks the last gully-washer of tears down his cheeks, then chatters on about silly string and how much paper money he has in his wallet.
The moment closes up into an invisible seam, another seed of knowledge sown inside.
3197. Jack announces, "I'm gonna start saving my money, Mom, for a really LONG time until I'm OLD like you."
3198. Craig's mom nurtures up an army of tomato plants for me. Craig helps me tuck fifty-three tomatoes into the fresh dirt.
3199. We talk politics and Jane prays, "Lord Jesus, please help them to know who to vote for. Please whisper who they should vote for in their ear."
3200. I sit with Jane while she paints a stained glass window. "I'm trying to make it look like I know what I'm doing, " she says, "but I don't."
3201. I tell her she's doing such a good job, and she looks up. "You have good ideas too," she says and snaps my arm.
3202. Craig makes egg-on-toast Saturday morning. I brew coffee. "Coffee is a masterpiece for you," he says.
3203. I serve a big scoop of garbanzos to each of the children at dinner. A strict warning of saying nothing bad about dinner, Lucy nods. "I'm pretending dat I like these," she says.
3204. A perfect haircut from my friend Barbi.
3205. I cuddle Joe in Cerissa's kitchen while the cousin and cousins of cousins romp through the house and yard and Barbi does beauty parlor for my mom and Ceris too.
3206. Barbi, Linda and I babysit all 12 cousins so Cerissa can race to the ER.
3207. The ER visit turns out ok.
3209. We ace two well-child-exams in flying colors.
3210. A summer shirt, green like new blades of grass.
3211. A trip downtown, coffee, cream cheese danish.
3213. A pony pack of love-lies-bleeding from the farm.
3214. Peanut butter cookies.
3215. Jack's new book, Uncle Wiggly's Airship.
3216. Jane hugs my mom then me and comments, "Momma, you're squishier than Grammie."
3218. Another gallery opening -- a colorist, the work in vibrant pastel -- all five kids enjoy the night, Craig and I too.
3219. I read a timely book on parenting and recall again the importance of obedience, how it is a platform for heart change. I ponder how to train our children's minds and lead their hearts.
3220. I thank the Lord again for placing us under Craig's authority and protection.