She loved to remember out loud.
On quiet summer nights, the four of us would sit outside, the sequined sky above and me in bare feet, just like Mom, our toes soaking up the cool of the concrete porch floor. Those were the nights she’d tell us about the miracles she’d seen: healings, angels and answered prayers.
Spring mornings pulling weeds in the garden, side-by-side. My jeans would be heavy with morning dew, my hands caked with mud and my feet covered in grass clippings. On those mornings, I learned about her childhood and the siblings she loved so much, how she looked up to each and every one of them. About how they were precious gems, made up of the same ingredients but each one shining a little different from the rest.
The afternoons we spent baking bread, getting ready for holidays or company. We’d sit at the table and fan away the heat of the oven with our hands while the dough was rising and she’d tell me about how her mom, my beautiful grandma, made the best biscuits and chocolate gravy and how she never measured a thing.
And then there were the long merry hours spent around the kitchen table. The nights our little house was full to bursting with family and friends, when all the grown-ups drank coffee and only remembered the happiest moments. These were the nights Mom made the characters in her stories come to life, when you knew exactly who she was talking about just by how she raised her eyebrow in that particular way, how she crooked her finger just so, how she sighed precisely the way they did. Those were the nights we all laughed until our stomachs hurt, until we gasped for air, until we were wiping our eyes. Those were the nights she was happiest because we were all happy too.