Last year for Christmas, I gave David a pizza stone and a recipe for crust because making pizzas with his dad on Christmas Eve was something he enjoyed and looked forward to, and because we knew, of course, that by our next Christmas, there would be Alice.

It seems like a very big deal just now to be the keeper of her Christmases. To figure out the things that will be the things she looks forward to every year. (Or, I suppose, the things she dreads. Who knows. You do your best.)

 I am not much of a planner that way. Probably we will just do what we do, and to her, it will become what she has always done for as long as she can remember.

Every year, in the middle of December, we go to Grandma Mary’s house to make tamales.

The little-girl cousins play with her on the kitchen floor, while at the table, we use Grandma’s spoons to spread masa over damp corn husks. Red chili stains our fingernails, my sleeve.

Grandpa brings us pastrami sandwiches for lunch.

I feel pretty confident I could teach Alice how to fold a tamale.

But it occurs to me how much I still don’t know about some of the things I really want to show her. I have none of the recipes, for example. I don’t know where to shop. I don’t know how much to buy. A mother and a daughter.


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