“Hi, Mom, anybody home?”
I knocked on the door and walked in at the same time.
“You didn’t tell me you were coming over!” she’d call back, slapping her face for added drama.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t because I didn’t want you to feel like you had to make any food for me.”
“But it’s not right not to have anything for you!” she’d always counter back at me. “HarRAM,” she’d say in Arabic, a phrase she used, which loosely translated means “you poor thing!”
And on we’d continue. This particular conversation would be repeated many more times between us while she was alive.
She was the type who always gave of her time and talents, and boy, was cooking one of them.
Cabbage rolls, stuffed grapevine leaves, pan-fried fish—it was all so filling, so comforting. She made the best grilled eggplant that I tried to duplicate once but failed miserably.
I didn’t want her to fuss, really . . . because I knew she would, and that wasn’t fair to her.
What I didn’t realize was she took joy in serving—that she wasn’t just being polite, she really felt distressed that a virtual spread wasn’t on the table to meet me at my surprise appearances.
Even in her last years, when she couldn’t stand for long periods of time, I would see her seated at the stove, doing the best she could.
When we gave back just a little to her, you would have thought we gave her the moon by the way she would go on and on in gratitude.
Stranger, friend, or family—give her an ounce of kindness, and she’d repay you with an extra amount.
She loved her family, and she loved the Lord. She gave her life to both, fully and without holding back.
Now, exactly two years to the day she left us, I can see her smiling at peace, living in the mansion God prepared for her, seated at the table, serving, laughing, feasting in Heaven.