Our lives were a cycle — the cycle of the day, the cycle of the seasons — circles of perpetual change that, when complete, meant nothing had changed at all. I believed my family was a part of this immortal mountain, that we were, in some sense, eternal. But eternity belonged only to the mountain.

“Your dad can’t make me do a damned thing,” Grandma stood, squaring herself. “If he wants you, he’ll have to come get you.”

Mother also used the money to improve herself as a midwife. She bought an oxygen tank in case a baby came out and couldn't breathe, and she took a suturing class so she could stitch the women who tore. Judy had always sent women to the hospital for stitches, but Mother was determined to learn. Self-reliance, I imagine her thinking.