|A visit to the coast for more completion.|
Today, Mom's eighty-sixth birthday. I was pretty quiet, here, around the house, and I've gone about as far as I need to, letting go, for now. We finished up with more *objectia* in Oregon last week, which felt complete, and now, waking up in my own bed, was perfect, for today. Moments ago, I put the finishing touches on dinner dishes, and thought to myself, 'Well, this sums motherhood up, on so many days'. I'd like to be politically correct and say "parenthood", but as much as we've tried, in this house, to smash our gender roles, this feels pretty damned traditional, or whatever.
In memory of Mom, I made a stroganoff that is reminiscent of what she might have made for us years ago. I threw a bit of effort at the thing, even making a roux, adding plenty of butter, and cooking with shallots(!). Our high school swimmer came home at about six and expressed her enthusiasm at my culinary efforts (often she's on her own at about this time). She prepared her own bowl, as I was on my way to retrieve the younger from Martial Arts. I knew that child number one would be squirreled away for the remainder of the night, chained to her homework. I took a few bites of baguette dipped in gravy before heading out for dutiful driver-parent responsibilities. Little one and I returned to sit and quietly eat. She mostly talked, I encouraged eating, and then, poof, "Can I read?". Spouse has been gone since dark AM and is in meeting until after all this (even the blog post). So I finish my glass of wine, clean the kitchen from top to bottom, reflect on a hardly eaten dinner, put an extra casserole in the fridge, thinking…'this is a lot of what this thing is about'. Mom holds the space. So often, it's a quick exchange, a ride, a comment, a request. We make all the arrangements, we make sure everything's in place, and then they're here, and they're gone, as soon as we blink an eye.
Making this stroganoff, I couldn't help but think of mom coming all the way to Vermont fifteen years ago, offering to make the dish for us as ripe new parents. Me, in all my bohemian, new parent gusto, barely tolerated the offer, not nearly comprehending the compendium of cooking/prepping/planning skills that it actually takes to feed more than one other person for years and years and years on end. I had no idea how many fads preferences and timings and trends any one family cook must flex her weight around. I simply had no idea. And I guess that thought taps into the shards of grief that still live in my heart. I've worked this drama to it's bitter end. I feel so good, so complete, with both Mom and Dad. But ever so often (OK, almost every day), there's a pang of total and utter regret. Why couldn't we have cooked the stroganoff together, a hundred times? Was I appreciative enough? Why didn't I ask more questions? Why was I so self-absorbed? But of course, we all know the answer to that question, and it's relative, for me and anyone else, i suppose. I was being and becoming who I needed to be, and Mom was loving me just the same, just as much, forever.
I'm so grateful for the memory of her undying love of me and my family. Everyone deserves to have somebody, at least one, who sees all the brilliance, all the mediocrity, all the failures, and loves us all the same.