Something inside her struggled against her mother’s words, a long burrowed instinct that wanted to rebel, to kick out against them. And suddenly there was a memory in the place where her mother’s voice had been, something long forgotten. She was at a neighbor’s house. She was small, incredibly young, maybe three years old. She slipped and fell in the pool in the backyard and her mother jumped into the pool. Constance heard the splash, could feel the cold chill of the water enveloping her, the wave her mother created.
Constance was small and the pool deep but she was not afraid. Her falling into the pool was a slip of a moment in Constance’s life, nothing more than passing the ketchup at dinner or slamming her bedroom door as a teenager. Her mother had grabbed hold of her so fast, had pulled her up and into her arms and held her there, her head and face high above the line of water. Constance had laughed.
A book I would not have without my mother.
I say that for the obvious reasons- for one thing, I clearly would not exist without her. Clearly.
For another, I would not love books without her. My mother had four children, I’m the third, and the majority of the pictures around when I was small consist of her gazing into the camera with half-closed eyes. Don’t get me wrong- she is as beautiful then as she is now but nobody could look at those pictures and not think, “Wow, she looks exhausted.” Four children will do that to a person. I can only imagine. And yet she read to me. A lot.
Even she admits that she does not how she was able to do this. It’s like those moments of her and me, a book between us, were strangely apart from the rest of her busy day, like the hour before and the hour after just kind of pulled until there was this extra time, this nowhere time. I learned to love stories there, in her lap. That’s important.
When I told her I wanted to write, she didn’t laugh. She didn’t fret. She honestly didn’t look too surprised.
If, over the years, my transient adventures made her increasingly nervous, she would share her fears that I wouldn’t make it, that it would never happen for me, that it was too tough out there, in private, to my father, behind closed doors. All she would say to me is that she was happy if I was happy. Which I was. Which I am.
When I sat down to write my first book, it seemed natural to make it about a mother’s love. And then, the second book turned out to be about that too. Isn’t that funny?
Thank you, Mama.
What do you want to thank your mom for? Share it with us.
You’ll be happy you did. Promise.
Buttermilk Rosemary Pound Cake
3 Cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 Teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 Teaspoon of salt
1 Cup of butter
3 Cups of white sugar
3 Teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 Cup of buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Butter 1 9-inch or 10-inch loaf pan.
3. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar.
5. Mix in the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition.
6. Stir in the lemon juice, vanilla extract and chopped rosemary.
7. Gently mix in flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Do not overmix.
8. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes. Do not open oven door until after one hour. When cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan, it is done.
10. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
Serve warm with honey.