About Mother

This is a post about Mother. Not A Mother, just about Mother.

First: she is not, and never will be, perfect. She doesn't even hope to be. But she tries, over and over again, just to do her best - and hopes it will all 'come out in the wash.'

She and daddy brought that Little bundle home, in the car seat because it was against the law to hold him/her in her arms, in the back set because that's where the car seat had to be strapped in. She always tried to follow the rules. The Question of the Day was, "what do we do when he wakes up?" (Baby will be named in this blog "She" or " He" intermittently to make it easier to write.)

No answer was forthcoming, because neither Parent could know. No matter how much experience each had with other people's kids, things were different with your Own. First Kid was first in the lineup every time. Every whimper was a scare and needed immediate attention. What do we do, when--?

Every whimper, clean thru graduation. Not audible whimpers, but daily happenings. You gotta share money, belongings, treats, most of all Time. Mother has only one set of hands and a finite set of resources.

Later whimpers sometimes had to wait. She tried but impossible situations sometimes had to wait for slower solutions. Like whimpers from Kid Number Two, or Three, or...

She tried loving. She tried explanations. She tried dividing attention. She tried rewarding. She tried answering the loudest petitions. She tried penalties. She tried punishment. She tried positive reinforcement and using the old psychology. A million times a day. Anything might work. Nothing might work.

But always there was the Need for Mom--for Mom to work it all out. For Mom to figure what needed to be done first, and next, and last.

And it never ends. When Kid Number One is halfway trained, Kid Number Two is there, and so on. Mom dearly loves each one, loves the opportunities each one learns as she faces the world within her family and later outside its boundaries. Mother gives answers and "things" that she HOPES will equip each Kid for Life.

And finally the Kid grows up and moves out, into life. Mother misses each one, but is perfectly willing to let him pay his own way and experience the experiences of his own. She knows how busy the Kid will be, because she has seen it all in her own life and other lives she watched. She knows days' ends will bring satisfaction. And sadness. Loneliness, or too much busy-ness. And pure joy.

She wants to help, so she listens to others' advice--she watches and butts in. Or zips up her lips and lets the Kid suffer his own just desserts.

Does he need money? She "lends" it. Does she need a good meal? Mother's right there with help. Does she need a listening ear? Here's where she better tread carefully, because that's the hardest thing to give, advice.

And does Mom ever have the right to ASK for help? Is time freely given? And the Kid's resources available? Does he answer, willingly? Does he help before he's asked? He is not doomed to ry to repay what his parents shared--that is not fair and is not required.

But please remember. When the Kid is self-sufficient, rolling along in the Happy-Mobile, Mother is behind him, still wishing for him the best, and waiting for her recognition and thankfulness. Then she remembers all the love she shared and just hopes that her best that she gave willingly has filled the bill.

And she waits.

How I Taught My Child to Cook

We started early. He learned to eat.

He learned to eat most everything. He was hungry, and when we threw away the baby bottle we ate all kinds of things. My parents taught me to eat what was put on my plate; my child's father had been in the Army during World War II and after serving in the jungles of the South Pacific he ate most everything except fried grasshoppers (which I didn't know how to cook anyhow.)

He had younger siblings and we were busy young parents so he learned to amuse himself. Played with the cook pans. Spilled milk and things from his plate. Fed the cat on the floor. He learned where food was stored and cooked, learned to use spoons, helped stir cookie dough and cake mix.

When Mom started to teach school, the children were old enough to want allowances, so they were hired to work at home. In addition to homework and their own "room work," one would set table, one would cook, one would clean up the kitchen. Everybody had favorite foods, so our diets weren't too varied, but nobody complained about the menus. They knew their turn was coming and everybody wanted to enjoy the good stuff.

"Box mixes" were new, and they could read. Instructions were clear and mom was there to help interpret. Each could cook whatever pleased the appetites; sometimes they'd try new recipes from the cookbooks.

Great fun were the church "homecomings" and frequent covered dish dinners. Son loved the ethnic dishes that were new to me. He asked for recipes, oral and written, and followed them carefully. Vegetables were plentiful in our southern rural location, and again everybody learned their favorites. Stewed tomatoes, raw oysters and fresh fish, veggie casseroles, thing that his dad and I weren't familiar with. Fresh huckleberries, strawberries, stewed tomatoes, fruit cobblers, wow!

So it followed that cooking was not a chore. (Cleaning up was no fun, but that was a chore that was necessary and everybody learned to not mess up ALL the pans in the kitchen.)

So when he moved into his own apartment he was no stranger to the drudge of cooking and had the fun of learning about the microwave and convection oven, and oriental spices and regional dishes.

I didn't teach him to cook.

He learned.