First, the seventh:
Ethan awoke on Monday morning in tears. I had let him sleep in and so he had to eat breakfast alone. Lonely pancakes would make anyone cry. But this was only the beginning. He cried about getting his shirt over his head. He cried about not being able to get his feet in his shoes. He cried about his itchy socks. He cried because his thumb was sore and how was he going to write and paste with a sore thumb. Through his sobs he told me there is lots of pasting in kindergarten.
I suggested he stay home to let his thumb rest.
I called the school and told them he was sick.
Sick of school. Sick of the pressures of pasting and cutting. Sick of the stress of counting and reading and the letter G. Damn letter G. Graceful and gregarious, yes, but also grim and grueling, to say nothing of grinding.
The other kids were just as sick, but their thumbs were not as sore as Ethan's and so I made them dress for school. I gathered them in a circle for prayer and gave a bolstering pep talk where I said things like, "it's just ten more days" and "we can do anything for ten days" and "come on, you'll feel better once you're out the door."
But I knew exactly how they felt. By that night I told David that I would not be able to go on without some serious incentive. Which always involves some serious necking.
He listened to me cry about my inadequacies and the unrelenting grip of entropy (both of which would make anyone cry) and my ever-growing list and my broken kitchen faucet and my itchy socks and my sore thumb. He tried a bolstering talk but I wasn't buying it. I interrupted him and asked if we could just skip to the kissing.
And while he was kissing me I listened to the pouring rain outside and wished for a snow day. Wished I lived in Wisconsin or Michigan or Massachusetts and we were bracing for a big winter storm. Wished to be socked in, snowed in, with no school and no work and no lists, just a fire and grilled cheese sandwiches and board games all day long. Just ten more days I told myself. You can do anything for ten more days.
And it was enough light and love and resurrection morning to get me through another day.
And now to the ninth:
Today is my mom's birthday. Even heaven remembered and sent a glorious sunrise. When I saw it I immediately recognized it as a birthday banner. And I could see my grandmother's hand in it. She still has impeccable taste.
We celebrated early this year, as all my brothers and sisters were in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. We had a surprise party at a restaurant that is really a cooking school and we all cooked dinner together and I learned the proper way to cut up an onion.
I am posting these pictures as a birthday banner of my own to the woman who taught me everything except how to cut up an onion. Love you, Mom.
[Editor's note: We missed Emily and Anthony who had to go back north for finals and reading week. And my camera lens jammed before I got a proper picture of Lisa or Christian or David (I think the back of your heads are lovely by the way) and before I got to take a picture of the end results. They were delicious. After dessert I declared I had never eaten a better cookie and we had a thorough "discussion" about the merits of the chocolate chip cookie versus the mexican wedding cookie, which until that evening I was completely unaware had any merits at all.
Whatever. I'm still thinking about that little bite of powdered sugar heaven.]