"Jack, supplies," Jane thunks a bowl of ice on the table, rectangular mirror and wash cloth in hand. "If you just sit here," she points to the kitchen bench, "I'll hold the mirror."
I plop a stick of butter into the Kitchen-Aid mixer, watch Jack reef on his loose tooth. "Wow, that looks like it hurts." He bends if forward, back, forward. I turn to Jane, "He's tough; that's what he is."
"He's a BOY," she adds, "that's what he is."
They rotate: ice, mirror, bend the tooth, mirror, ice, have Momma try. Jane flops the wash cloth on the table, leans on an elbow. I add brown sugar and eggs to the cookies, whirl the mixer.
And then, he pulls it out. We cheer. The children erupt, I smile, pat his back. And I watch over his shoulder. He holds it up, jagged white pebble, and whispers, "Look, a newborn baby."
Tenderness, folded like moth wings, unfurls. "Can I have a tooth holder," he says. So, I dig out an old baby food jar. The tooth rattles like a metronome inside.
"Jane, let's go downstairs and look at my tooth and do the puzzle," he shouts, and ragtag band of adoring sisters trot down stairs to look at his tooth.
Another moment, another milestone.
1852. Up before six Tuesday morning and Jack's incredulous, "Momma, did you stay up ALL night?!"
1853. How before bed Jane kisses my hand and croons, "You're so sweet," then cuddles my it to her face.
1854. Lucy playing house, "Raise your hand if you're a marigold."
1855. How when Myra cries Lucy lulls, "Yes, my dear?"
1856. How when I tell Jack he can sit by me at lunch, he won't take a bite until I do.
1857. How at the first sign that tooth is loose he bursts, "Can we have a party when my tooth falls out?"
1858. How Jane clomps upstairs after half an hour, "I don't know why they think seeing teeth is so interesting."
1859. A tooth party with all the fixin's.
1860. New pants.
1861. How Lucy rotates a load of laundry when I mention it needs being done.
1862. How Jane makes name tags for place settings when we have company and makes a big card: Find Your Name.
1863. How Lucy copies her.
1864. How Myra eats the core of her apple.
1865. Lucy trying to sound grown-up, "Black widows like BANANAS."
1866. Jack at breakfast, "If you let me make toast, I'll let you HOLD my tooth."
1867. How when I ask Jane what God's teaching her, she pauses, and says, "He's reminding me not to get angry when people do things I don't like."
1868. How Lucy makes me a card, "It's just important to write Momma whole bunch of times."
1869. How she hugs her dolly and sing-songs, "I'm thinking you're getting cold." And how she turns to me, "I'm taking my baby on a date to the store."
1870. How Jack reads a book while he brushes his teeth.
1871. How when I return from getting my pregnancy rhogam shot, Jane bounds to the door, "How was your rabies shot, Momma?"
1872. Lucy's explanation, "Jane let me use this toothbrush."
1873. How Myra toddles over, lays her head on my shoulders.
1874. How Jane sets a coffee cup out for me, grinds the coffee.
1875. Three girls gathered around to watch me brew it.
1876. How Lucy rotates another load of laundry without me asking.
1877. Lentil chili and fresh bread on the farm.
1878. The kids' new game: Mad Tea Party. The cacophony that ensues.
1879. The insight from my mom that God put beauty here to comfort us.
1878. Jack's affection to Myra, "Hi, little mother duck."
1879. Lucy's question, "Mom, wanna know what study means? It means win the race."
1880. Better than playing house, "We're pretending Jack's Peter Pan, and I'm Captain Hook," Lucy says. "And Peter Pan always wins on me," says adds.
1881. The deliberation to slow these days, enjoy them as they come.