The baby has large liquid eyes that wobble between green and blue and soft dark crescents for eyebrows. Both girls show traces of their mother's Persian birth heritage and will be beauties in their own right. The littlest one honors everyone with immense and frequent smiles and her grandmother took several videos ranging from 32 to 106 seconds demonstrating her incredible ability to make a series of spitty raspberry sounds.
I have been a busy person these last few days. I go out to the garage to get my mother's roasting pan and as I pull it from the box I double over as a hard wave of emotion finds me. I sob a few times, a lonely sound, and then I return to my kitchen. The next morning the ingredients for my dressing lie on the counter for a couple of hours and I know I am stalling, afraid that my combination of spices, sausage, bread, celery and onion will be inferior to my mother's famed concoction. She never wrote the recipe out for us fledgling cooks. I got the "look," the one that said, just taste it - you'll know what it needs. Amazingly, it is good and so was the gravy which was the bigger concern.
And the holiday was a good one despite the sad thoughts lapping at our collective consciousness. There was laughter and shared stories, card games and barbecued weenies in a crock pot - love them weenies. We played Candyland and Clue with the younger set and it was indeed Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the revolver. Jason calls from his Colorado home and he is making dinner for friends: sweet potato and lentil casserole, roasted vegetables, pecan and pumpkin pies. Jason will be joining us in a few weeks and he and my father will walk the snowy hills of the driftless land.
The house sits quiet now and it feels strange not to have a wiggly baby on my lap or her older sister handing me Goodnight Moon to read. I carry my bittersweet wreath down to the wooded area at the bottom of our hill. My memories have been as intense and deeply colored as the bright orange berries on this vine. I hang it on a low branch knowing I will see the wreath from my window. At some point a strong winter wind will take possession of it.