Dear Bethany Grace

Eleven year old me would like to tell you that you have become the prettiest most amazing lady in the world- and she wouldn’t be wrong.  I think of the dreams that we had, a million years ago, and I think of the life you live, and they couldn’t be more different, and reality couldn’t be more fabulous.  You’re not a prima ballerina, or a lawyer, or a bazillionaire, but you haven’t done too bad for yourself, kid.

Remember back when we first met, how we hated each other?  Its amazing what nearly twenty years will do to you.  Twenty years, two and a half advanced degrees, the loss of many incredible people in our lives.  You sacrificed to stand with Arizona Mom, while I couldn’t.  Sure, if you hadn’t been there one of us would have stepped up- but you were there, brilliant, and we loved you for it.  You took our other sisters voluntary exit from the family with class and poise while I threw things at a wake, screaming at the walls.

You have become the woman I want to be, one day- even if you are my little sister.  You are my therapist, beauty guru, personal shopper, Arizona airport shuttle, love-line, trivia life line, I love you more than words, books, salt water taffy and amaretto fudge could ever explain.  Even if you look better than me in every picture, always.

XOXO Sarah Mae

I’ve committed to writing 30 letters in 30 days, according to the 30 Day Letter Challenge.  To learn more about my project, check out my introduction.


Dear Mom & Dad

Mom & DadIt is a rarity in this world to be married this long.  30 plus years is an example that you set that I intend to follow.  Happiness, and cooperation, and love governing every choice you make for years and years and years means more than just showing up and faking it until you make it.

I’m sure there was some of that- back in the early days.  Back in the first ten years, when you spent seven of them apart.  Back when wars and politics and a random assortment of nations security meant not seeing or speaking for days and weeks.  Back when CNN was just becoming a thing, and you watched half horrified, half thrilled that you might catch a glimpse of the person you loved.

In all those years you’ve done a lot.  You’ve raised children, you’ve built a family.  You taught me to cook, to clean, to drink.  How electrical and plumbing work (or don’t work, as those lessons usually begin).  How to drive, how to hike, how to get a fish hook out of my sister.  You’ve taught me putting your family first sometimes means not getting what you, or what they want, so everyone has what they need.  You’ve taught me to hold my panic in, to ask for help, to admit my weaknesses and own my strengths.  That dry feet are the most valuable thing you can have when everything comes to chaos, what to do in crisis, even if its just to come home to you.  You taught me to think with others, of others, and for others if necessary.

But most of all, you taught me how to be in a family.  How to bring the people who love you close, and to learn to love them.  How to let go of the hurt of those who don’t love you.  How to acknowledge that which the law will not, the marriage and union and parenting that paper cannot validate.  And you taught me to do all of this freely, and carefully.  Because my family is our family.

And for that, I am grateful.

XOXO Your Mouse

I’ve committed to writing 30 letters in 30 days, according to the 30 Day Letter Challenge.  To learn more about my project, check out my introduction.

Canned Pressure

Warm bodies press against one another, sweat mixing, dripping, as they work.  Red slicks across fingers, dark as blood, as paring knives slice through to well seasoned thumbs.  Too many bodies in the kitchen, too close, too much in the heat of summer.  August habits never lost.  Little fingers pick and pull, splashing in the cool water in the corner.  Never shushed, for this is the time for raucous.

These women, of this family, gathered to do the annual deed. Slaughter of the seasons fruit.  Carefully mix, measure poor.  Boil.  Don’t forget to boil that pure, lest poison come for our children, like in Grandmothers’ lore.

Keep going, fingers numb, tastes dull, senses overwhelmed by the heat and the bodies pressed in.  Keep going before they turn.  Harvest and wash and carve and pour.

Stir, spin and boil.  Stay away from the pot, it might explode they tell you, little fingers in the cold water.  But now, young woman, elbows up, man that machine.  Stir before the burn, little splatters etched forever in your forearms.  No time to stop, no time to wash.  Stir, spin and boil.

Fill them, before all is lost.  Ignore the fact your fingers burn, hold tight, spin tight, ease in, before it’s time.  Then lock the great machine.  Once too young to oversee, a little gage.  But now you read.

It’s jelly season.

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This flash fiction was inspired by Daily Promt’s The Heat Is On.