But our best moments, I thought, were in church. In less than five years, Jim's mom's gained two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. It meant everything to her: all ten of us dressed in Sunday best, filling two pews.
I'd never visited her church before, but I understood it: especially its burgandy Church Hymnal and action-packed altar. We shook hands with everyone at least twice. We sang "Everybody Will Be Happy Over There" and "Where the Soul of Man Never Dies," and--as part of an effort to keep our children hemmed in and quiet--we stuffed them with all manner of snacks.
Even so, Charleigh broke loose, once, and ran up the aisle calling: "Mamaw!" to Jim's mom, who was mid-song, behind the pulpit. But no one much cared because--in a church that doesn't offer nursery--people expect kids to party, a little, in the sanctuary.
Later, when Jim's mom returned to the front to sing, she grabbed Clementine's hand and took her along.
I'm telling you: all of it was beautiful, and I like to imagine Jim's dad looking down on our party of ten, especially the wiggly, wily, wiry littles (all bows and curls and sticky fingers) in those plush pews.