Tag Archives: mother’s day

Eat breakfast on Mother’s Day

17 May

File_000 (12)The day of mothers arrived like any other Sunday. Our terrier woke me shortly after 7, and I got dressed to take him out, not a peep from the toddler yet. I crept past the room of the baby we kept up too late the night before who seemed to be sleeping in.

Returning from a brief walk to silence inside the house, I prepared oatmeal and pears in a tiny bowl + spoon. Then I walked toward the silence and opened the nursery door to find a standing 21-month-old and the contents of his crib spilled onto the middle of the floor. It was mostly babas [his word for stuffed animal], plus whatever he could reach from the table next to the crib. “I throw shoes!” he announced as I entered the room. Yes, yes, Mommy’s so proud! 

Here’s an appropriate time to speak to non-parents. It seems insane that you could literally think every new phrase your child utters is adorable. And yet before going to bed each night, Aaron and I imitate his little voice, recap his best-of-trying-to-talk hits. I never understood this before I lived it every day. I was perplexed when parents repeated their mispronunciations. Really? That’s what happens to you when you have children?

Yes, that is exactly what happens. And it is a f**king miracle. I will never grow tired of the almost-rights or not-even-close’s. Moonana = banana (or Nana, referring to his grandmothers); Godada = gorilla. His current favorite book involves a godada eating a moonana, of course. The fruit, not the person (oh my, did that cute anecdote take a turn.)

After breakfast and books, the boy wants to watch “Elmo!” and I want to drink coffee and it’s Mother’s Day, so yes to Sesame Street, especially when it’s raining outside. It seems like a great idea until the Letter of the Day song enters my psyche via earworm and three days later I am still spontaneously shouting “Clap! Clap!” and bobbing my head while doing the dishes. And I may tell myself, this is not my music. This is not my beautiful music. 

Once the rain stops and we are preparing to go outside, Aaron is now awake and stirring. I realize it sounds bad that Aaron is still asleep on Mother’s Day, but we have an arrangement where we take turns on weekends getting up early and Sundays are my days because Saturdays I am so sleep-deprived from getting up at 5:30 am. We could’ve switched but I never saw the need. This may have led to several other assumptions on my part that proved problematic. When we walked into the bedroom to greet Aaron, nothing unusual happened, just cute toddler giggling and him rolling around between us. We discuss that our previous plan to go to the park for a picnic may be thwarted because rain = puddles everywhere for our puddle-loving son to sit directly in. Not relaxing, too many wardrobe changes. Also, we have no groceries yet (Sunday is go-to-the-store day) and not enough time to do all of that before naptime (which is typically when Aaron goes to the store). It’s fine, I say, let’s go for a walk.

At this point, the leftover toddler oatmeal and coffee start to wear off and I start to feel how hungry I am under full Florida sun. I then start to realize that not only did I not eat an actual breakfast, but my husband never actually said Happy Mother’s Day to me and it’s after 11 a.m.. After a flurry of realizations on both our parts, we attempt to repair the damage by agreeing to go out to lunch (not brunch!). We choose a place that opens at 12 to avoid the motherly brunch crowd.

We arrive and order and I decide maybe to feel fancy and more celebrated I should order a mimosa before our pizza comes. Nothing says Mom like pizza and a mimosa. While food significantly improved my mood, turns out day-drinking wasn’t the solution when you still have to parent a toddler. Instead of coming home refreshed, I had to take a nap when the baby did. The rest of afternoon felt like a long march until bedtime + Sunday chores.

Laundry, dishes, lunches. *The drudgery*

When I first started making Fox’s lunches, I thought I had entered into some kind of motherhood nirvana. Cutting up foods into tiny portions into tiny containers: It felt so nurturing, so adorable. When he was 8 months old, I remember stacking up his purees, color-coded like an artform, and packing them into a cooler for a road trip. Sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, beets, squash, all stacked in Pantone precision. And then once he got to the 1-year-old class, gone were the purees you could freeze in mass and just defrost–it became something I had to do every night. At first, it was a ritual that I cherished: cutting the grapes, cheese, vegetables, strawberries, hard-boiled egg, the ham, the avocado: the nutrients! I placed tiny containers into a cute lunchbox ergonomically designed to look like a snail. Why do people complain about this?

Eight months in, I had only swears for those f*king grapes.

Wash them, cut them in half, no fourths, maybe eights? These are enormous grapes and the internet and my mom keep warning me about grape choking.

It is routine.

It is repetitive.

It is the kind of thing my husband is so good at.

For months, he made our week’s lunches on Sundays. That man loves to chop things en masse. He ordered a 30 quart bowl online to make the task easier. Yes, the bowl is so comically large that it is nearly impossible to wash in our sink, but eating fresh food for lunch every day is such a blessing. When left to make my own lunches recently, I made toddler food. Tiny containers with hard-boiled eggs, shredded chicken, peas and carrots with a side of fruit and cheese. My lunch preparation brain is so wired for child portions, I flounder when asked to cook for myself. Every since Fox was born, Aaron has shifted to doing most of the adult meal prep. I lost that part of my routine–I donated it all to my son, so when Aaron’s not home, I end up eating hummus and carrots or fruit and cheese for dinner: a meal of appetizers!

There’s a line in a book Fox used to love to read that says “some Daddies take care of Mommies so they can take care of you.” The illustration is of a family of foxes, no less. While Aaron also regularly takes care of Fox, there are these routines that I complain about that don’t even make him flinch. He just grabs that planet-sized bowl and chops and stirs and portions while I am folding laundry or putting food into tiny containers.

So when Aaron falls asleep the night before Mother’s Day before putting the card out on the table for the morning, I forgive him.  What he does every other Sunday is far more important.

Next year, I will be more clear that I do, however, want to eat breakfast on Mother’s Day.

Three lessons from Mom

8 May

My mom as a newlywed

One of the biggest parts of my transition from Virginia to Florida is being so far from my close friends and family. While the isolation has brought much clarity, I miss regularly seeing people who’ve known me half or all of my life.

Today we celebrate our mothers. I won’t see mine on this day (a 15 hour drive on a Sunday is not happening). Instead I’m sharing a few lessons courtesy of my mom.

1. You can teach an old dog new tricks

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been anti-technology. In the early days of the VCR, she would always yell from downstairs for help to get a movie started. We would clamor down the stairs to find her helplessly punching a remote, ready to throw it into the trash can. Since her young children and gadget-loving husband were always happy to assist her, she never got comfortable operating technology by herself.

That is until her world of work started embracing more and more technology. Anxiety over PowerPoint training? I still remember the heavy sighs. She saw young people enter her field with black belts in technology. She knew how long it would take her to learn it. She was starting from level 1; they were entering the field at level 10. Many people in her position would have folded and considered early retirement, but not my mom. After leaving a long career as a sales manager, she became the first paid president of the Chamber of Commerce in my small hometown. She once held this position as a volunteer, and was the first woman in the history of the town to do so. When you don’t have a staff to operate the technology for you, you have to learn it yourself.

Mom attended seminar after seminar and even became the webmistress (as my dad calls her) for the Chamber’s site. Because of her research, she knew she needed a Facebook page. She now successfully maintains three Facebook pages (one personal, two professional), and she already has more virtual friends than I do. She now understands more about technology than my dad does.

Lesson: It’s never too late and you’re never too old.

2. When things get too tense, do something ridiculous.

Once on a church trip to Merida, Mexico, after a long trip to the local market which was lined with flies-on-raw-meat in 95 degree, 100 percent humidity weather, everyone was sweating profusely, irritable, mildly sick, and miserable.

My mom jumped into a pool with her clothes on.

After getting over the shock of what she’d done, everyone else (many years her junior) followed her into the pool. Smiles and camaraderie followed. My mom has never been afraid to risk embarrassment to break tension.

In all households, sometimes there are arguments. When my sister and I found ourselves locked in verbal combat with my mom, she would grow tired of it. Instead of escalating the tension further, she would end it quickly with near farce. She once flipped the bird and “beat” us with a flip flop. We immediately dissolved into laughter: fight over.

Lesson: Never take yourself too seriously. It makes for a sad life. Just look at Donald Trump.

3. Accept it, you’re going to turn into your mother

My mom and I bumped heads quite a bit when I was growing up. No surprise, we’re both stubborn and don’t love to admit when we’re wrong.

When I came home complaining about something or someone who’d clearly wronged me, my mom always took the other person’s side. I swore I’d never do that. Major FAIL on that mission: I have turned into the master other-side-taker, irritating everyone around me, just as my mom irritated me.

None of us is perfect, and if we judged ourselves by our worst qualities, we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. My mom always judged me by my best qualities, else she’d have disowned me long ago.

Lesson: Nurture the best in people and they’ll rise above their worst.

What lessons can we learn from your mom?