Jars, lids, fruits, lifters and funnel, I began the mental check list as my eyes roved over the kitchen counter. Pectin and sugar it was all here knowing we had everything we needed I turned to my daughters.
“Alright ladies, its jamming time oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh its jamming time oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh, break it down. Its jamming time!” I sang while doing my best MC Hammer dance.
“Really mom? Again with the MC Hammer “its Jamming time” when are you going to give that a rest?” My eldest Autumn said moving to the stove to start sanitizing the jars and lids. Neat, clean and in order that’s my girl.
“Oh come on, you know you like it, it’s jamming time oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh” Jasmine my third eldest sang MC Hammer dancing her way over to Autumn and she rolled her eyes. “It wouldn’t be the same, it is tradition. She does this every year on Lily’s birthday. And you have come to love it!” She said bumping into her sister, the contact made Autumn drop the jar it splashed into boiling water, the water landed onto her hand.
“Ow! Jas that hurt would you not be so reckless. You burnt my hand and almost broke the jar.”
Reckless, loud and a little neurotic that’s my daughter and Jasmine, she was the most like me.
“Yeah but it is embarrassing. I mean, mom do you really have to do it every time?” Said Summer, my baby.
“What do you care? It’s just us. Or would you like us to invite Lucas and Sarah over?” Lily my second eldest said.
“Oh, and Nick and Marie too!” I said busting out my moves again. She groaned and slammed her hand to her face. Smart, confident and carefree she was the most embarrassed by my crazy antics, but just where did she think she got her carefree nature from? That’s my daughter.
“No. no. oh my gosh mom no.” She replied grabbing a bowl of strawberries to begin mashing them.
“You wash those yet?” Autumn called out. Summer froze in place.
“Yeah, of course.” A sly smirk colored her face.
“Uh Summer, you know you have to clean them first.”
“Relax, I washed the fruit already.” I said then kissed Autumn’s forehead and grabbed the blueberries and blackberries from the counter. I took them over to Lily. “You want blackberry or blueberry?” I asked her weighing them on my hands like a scale.
“Blue” she said pointing the blackberries. I laughed.
“Okay, blue it is.” I gave her the bowl with the blackberries.
She took one out and tossed it at my head; it hit my cheek and landed in my bowl. “Hey!” I tossed it back at her and she caught it in her mouth.
“Thanks!” she said smiling mischievously. I shook my head at her.
“The fruit is for the jam.”
“So, it’s my day, I can do whatever I want. And besides, it hit your face, it wasn’t clean enough for Autumn.” She said smirking. Funny, guarded and loving that’s my daughter.
We mashed fruit, mixed, cooked and canned until we ran out of fruit and our hearts were content. After 20 Jars and five different kinds of jam later the kitchen was a mess. Jam had been smeared on the counters, burned onto the stove and some clung to our hands, faces and clothes. The light banter the was always led my Lily even led us all into my version of “You can’t touch this” one of us would use the jar lifter to pull the jars from the boiling water after being processed to let the jars of jam cool, singing “you can’t touch this. oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh you can’t touch this. oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh break it down. oh-oh oh oh-oh-oh Its jamming time.” It was another afternoon to remember. Another memory made in the kitchen. Family jamming was yearly thing and it was something special, a time when we bonded closer and memories where made.
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