About a week ago, Austin asked for jam with his peanut butter sandwich at lunch. A seemingly normal request except this kid hasn't asked for jam with his peanut butter in months.
So, I ran downstairs to my stash (yes, that stash of carefully arranged mason jars that sit on my office shelves full of the goodies I cooked last summer) grabbed a jar of what I thought was my strawberry jam and ran back upstairs.
And opened it.
That's when I realized that it was sealed with wax instead of the way I seal my jars (I can't explain the difference and I'm not going to bother for the purpose of this story). There's only one person that I know of who could've made that jar of jam if it wasn't mine. Ryan's grandmother. Nana.
Nana died less than two weeks before I opened that jar. She had given us an assortment of jam and sauces just this past Christmas yet this was the first jar we opened.
Now, she wasn't my grandmother, but for the last 15 years, Nana treated me as if she was. I was a granddaughter to her just as much as her other grandchildren. And she had many grandchildren -- and a handful of great-grandchildren.
So there was something very special in opening that jar of jam that day. It was raspberry jam by the way -- not even strawberry jam like I thought it was before I actually read the label. It was our last jar of Nana's raspberry jam.
And damn is it good. I enjoy making jam and have done so for two years now, but I could've learned a lot about jam making from her. It's just one of the many things I'll miss about her.
Austin, who was at the funeral and was alternatively fascinated and sad during that time, was a little confused at first as to why we had Nana's (or in his case, great-Nana's) jam. When I told him she gave it to us before she died, his matter-of-fact response (in only the way a 6-year-old can) was "well that was nice of her".
But raspberry jam wasn't her speciality. Peach jam was. Everyone who is anyone in the family (or newer to the family like me) knows that.
We have one jar of Nana's peach jam on the shelf from the presents she gave us last Christmas. I don't know when I'll have the heart to open it. Because when it's gone, she can never make us another jar.
I'll miss you Nana.