“I’m waiting on my grandkids,” she wraps an arm around me.
“I know, Mama. But first comes marriage,” I smile.
“Unless you’re…” She stops and gives me a wink, and I know she was going to say something about Toby. Mama is my biggest cheerleader, the one who helped mend my broken heart, but I don’t think she ever forgave Toby for what he did to me. However, I’ve learned to let go of the resentment a long time ago. Every day I’m thankful for him cheating, regardless that it was wrong, because if he wouldn’t have, Drew and I wouldn’t have ever had a chance.
“I’m better off. It didn’t even bother me her telling me about the pregnancy. That’s how I knew for certain I’m over it. Drew is my life, Mama. I love him.”
“I know, baby. I know. I’m happy for you. I can tell he loves you, too, and would do anything for you. That boy looks at you like you’re his world.”
“I am.” I’m smiling big and it’s not because of the delicious cupcakes that practically melt in my mouth or the precious baby boys Benita is having. No, it’s because my mother knows—really knows—Drew loves me.
“Now get over there and save your cousin from the golden girls and help her open those presents.”
I give her a big hug and tell her how much I love her. She’s the most strong-willed woman I’ve ever met, and she calls it like she sees it. The older I get, the prouder I am to be her daughter. Most women don’t want to be like their mothers, but one day I hope to be just like mine.
Gifts are stacked on a cute table and someone had gotten Benita a rocking chair as a gift, which she rocked in the whole time as Aunt Charlotte handed her gifts. I stayed busy, doing my job, writing down the gifts and what they were so she could send thank you cards afterward. When she gets to my gift, I can’t contain my excitement. As she rips off the paper and sees the Baby Bjorn for twins, she shrieks then leans over and hugs me.
“One baby for each boob, you know,” I murmur, just loud enough for her to hear.
“I was hoping I’d get one of these fancy things!” In the bottom of the big bag there are booties and a gift card.
She looks at it, confused. “Since there’s not a Wal-Mart close, thought I’d get you a gift card so you can shop online.” I give her a wink and she shakes her head and thanks me.
“It’s too much,” she whispers.
“Shut it and keep opening your gifts,” I tell her, and Aunt Charlotte brings the rest.
By the time the shower ends, I can tell Benita is tired. She’s been on her feet a lot today and the sugar in the cupcakes didn’t help any of us. We help load up all the gifts, clean up, and then we’re on our way.
“Don’t be a stranger.” Benita hugs me tight before we leave.
“I promise to come back and see the boys,” I tell her. It’s so bittersweet leaving everyone. Each time I do, it kind of hurts, but I love California, so it’s a constant struggle.
Soon we’re on the road and Mama is all smiles as we drive back to the house. Every single cupcake was eaten, and the gender reveal went off without a hitch.
“I’m proud of you,” I tell her, and she looks over and smiles at me.
“Thanks, Court. I was worried,” she finally admits.
“You’re the best baker in Texas and everyone knows it. But I am kinda sad there aren’t any more cupcakes left. The icing melted in my mouth. They were so good.”
She turns her head and looks at me with a big grin.
“You have some hidden, don’t you?”
I burst out laughing, realizing I get my need to hoard baked goods from her.
“We’ll eat them after dinner with big bowls of ice cream. You know I couldn’t bake all those cupcakes without saving some for your brothers. They would’ve complained the whole night.”
I snicker because it’s all truth. We pull up to the house just as Drew and Dad are pulling up on a four-wheeler. Drew is covered in mud and he’s walking like he did a thousand squats.
“Oh, dear,” Mama says as she turns off the car. “City boys aren’t cut out for this life.”
I get out and walk over to Drew and he forces a smile, but I can tell he’s exhausted. “Are you okay?”
He shoves his hands in his pockets and chooses his words carefully. “Remind me to never get into a fist fight with any of your brothers. If they work this hard every day, well, they’d all be able to kick my ass.”
“Why do you think every guy my age was scared off by them?” I turn around as my brothers pull up, hooting and hollering with the top down in the jeep. Everything is covered in mud—even them.