Popcorn used to just be well... popcorn.
Sure, I had some memories associated with it.
When my dad was a principal, he had a movie theater popcorn machine so that kids could have free popcorn on celebration days.
One time when I visited my friend, who was a single mom of two young kids, she wanted to cook me dinner. Meanwhile, I just wanted popcorn.
Getting the call from my sons' school to pick up Corbin because his stomach hurt. Turns out he ate too much popcorn.
But none of those memories are sticky memories. They come and go like fluffy, white, cumulus cotton ball clouds, on a summer day.
Now whenever I eat popcorn, I think of one person. The six-year-old sweet, sassy, smart little girl who lived with us for six weeks.
We had an after dinner routine. First, practice reading sight words and/or naming numbers from 1-20 for ten minutes. If she could earn ten points, a point for every correct word or identified number, she could earn ten extra minutes of movie time. Boy, did she work to turn 30 minutes into 40 minutes of Disney magic.
Almost always, she chose Encanto. I can't even tell you how many times I watched Encanto in six weeks.
I lost count.
And every other night, she and I made popcorn. The old-fashioned kind with melted butter and table salt. She'd stand and watch on the stool, a safe distance from any spattering grease, as I poured the kernels into the pot.
She and I sat on the couch, each with our own bowl, and a cloth napkin so that Tom wouldn't hyperventilate about grease stains on clothes or the couch.
After she finished one bowl, she'd always ask, "Is there more?" Of course, I made sure there always was, even if it was just a little bit.
Then, she would sing.
Song after song until the forty minutes was up and it was time for books and bed.
Last night before Tom and I sat down to watch Shrinking, I looked at him and I said, "I want popcorn."
We looked at each other and said her name.
He looked at me and said, "Is there more?"
Popcorn has never tasted so bittersweet.