she always loved holidays & Christmas especially, and so each December we all huddled close beneath her as she stretched wide, a brilliant tent of love expanding through the house. we held our breath and believed we could go on forever like this, children & grandchildren orbiting around her in an elliptical devotion. “i’ll never leave you at Christmas,” she promised & she held true to her word, sliding out quietly on the 4th of July as the air stood still. and that night as fireworks sprayed across the open sky i watched my mother’s face as she stood beside me and i knew she saw it too, the lights stretching wide as her mother’s love & we silently vowed to never forget those things that matter most.