In the kitchen, baking a cake, I found my mother.
She was there as I turned on the mixer, the whir of the KitchenAid blade beating the Crisco and butter together. I heard her voice as I cracked the eggs one at a time into a glass, to be poured into the mixing bowl after checking for shells. I saw her hands leveling the flour, measuring the salt and baking soda, turning the crank on the sifter. I felt her near me as I prepared the pan with a paper towel, Crisco and flour.
Again she was there, when I beat the buttercream icing to soft white peaks, when I spread the icing onto the sheet cake in the smooth back-and-forth rhythms I learned just watching her countless times, and as I screwed the icing tip on the bag. As I made figure eight’s on my son’s hand, I felt again the smooth texture of sweetness, of gift.
And as my son looks at his completed cake that is mixed, baked, iced and decorated by hand, I think, even though she’s gone, even though he will barely remember her, this cake and the many that will come after it, are gifts from her. As surely as if she made it herself.
Because she was with me in the kitchen today, and I was so happy to find her there.