As I write, my daughter is sleeping upstairs in the room that used to be mine when I was a child and I’m sitting in a leather chair, at my mom’s very large and old wooden desk that used to sit in her work office. My son has been outside with my mom and step-dad for the past hour and it’s very close to his bedtime.
It’s summer and that time in the evening when the light turns everything gold and the air gets a little cooler and the cicadas sound more musical. When I’m outside at this time, I feel like I’m living in a memory because everything seems perfect, a trick usually that happens only in our mind when we look at the past.
A while ago, I went out to check on them. I leaned over the railing and scanned the back yard to find them. I saw my mom over by one of her unruly gardens. Pretty soon, I saw my son rushing towards her, through the garden, with tomatoes stuffed in his hands. He dropped them into her shirt that she was holding out like a bowl to catch them.
When I was a little girl, we would buy green beans and snap off the ends before my mom boiled them. She would tell me that she did this with her mom long ago and that her mom would wear an apron that she would scoop up like a bowl to carry all the beans.
My son walked back into the bushy tomato plants to find more.
I went back in the house for a while and waited to hear them at the back door. When they showed up, my son had tomato seeds all over his belly from eating them as he harvested. I listened to their amazement at how many tomatoes had ripened just today. Then, I turned to my mom and scooped up the tomatoes into my hands that I had folded, like a bowl, to hold them.
My wild boy, this is a moment I want you to remember about your grandparents and this house. The yard when it is alive and huge and full of places to run and hide. This light that dances on the blades of grass, that makes your grandmother’s face even warmer than it usually is when her gaze is directed at you. Remember running to her to throw the earthy smelling tomatoes into her shirt that she’s scooped like a bowl. One day you’ll know how much love has been passed down to you from family members you never met, from family members only in your memory, to those who still surround you. I hope the gold fills in all the places you need it to and more, enough that it spills out to those you will meet in the future, who will scoop it up in their bowl and carry it on.
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