This is my favorite picture of my Aunt Chris. Her husband and grandkids are circling around her, curling toward her like she was the sun. I love that it shows her hands too. She did so much good with those hands.
The first memory I have of my Aunt Chris was when she was pregnant with Kelsey. She was eating a salad with ranch and drinking a diet coke with ice, the glass slick with condensation. She made me Kraft macaroni and cheese and let me add the milk. I added too much, but she didn�t mind. �As long as you�ll eat it,� she said.
Later, Jeremy and Wes chased us around the house with some kind of spray. It ruined Tiffany�s umbrella and both boys ended up on stools at the opposite sides of the kitchen.
There was the smell of horses, makeup, and hairspray as Tiffany and I tried out for queen contests, rode in parades, or participated in 4-H. Bending down to pop tar bubbles on the hot asphalt, we would walk to the store for penny candy with their dog, Muffin. I remember rides in their boat, sand between my toes, skin peeling off my shoulders. Uncle Chuck telling me that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, I�d end up pregnant (I was seven, I think, and terrified).
I remember jumping on her trampoline and feeling like I could fly, just for a minute.
There were long summer afternoons in her beautiful yard�hot dogs that were a little burned and fingers stained with raspberry juice. When we were older, we would pick raspberries for hours, a cramp in our backs and our arms and legs scratched and stinging. But we didn�t mind as we laughed and chatted. Chris would always overfill her costumer�s boxes because that�s just how she was.
I remember Women�s Conference and trips to the craft fair. I remember her laugh and the way she would slouch in her chair, wrists on the end of the armrest so her hand�s dangled. And the crafts she could make with those hands! Beautiful blankets, doilies, scrapbooks�she crocheted the dress both my daughter and I were blessed in as infants.
Whatever Chris touched, she made beautiful. It was a gift she had. A gift she nurtured. Taking scraps of paper or fabric or broken hearts and seeing possibility�nurturing that possibility until it became something lovely and new. I like to think of her that way in heaven. Sitting with my grandpa, hands dangling from the end of her chair as they look down on our big family and decide how to shape us from afar.