Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making Memories of a (Good) Mother

It’s way too early in the game to know if Julia will consider me an adequate mother. I think I've done a pretty admirable job in the past four and a half years, but I've got things like adolescence and the teenage years as coming attractions. I’ll have to step up my game to capitalize on the groundwork I've laid at this point.

I often wonder what will stand out in her memories of me when she’s all grown up. Perhaps my over-stuffed photo albums and millions of written words will buoy her own recollections. I typically don’t write down the bad stuff, like the tantrum I threw when she peed her car seat on the way home from Presque Isle this summer. That should help my approval rating.

For me, I have very warm childhood memories. There was the night I returned early from a camping trip with my grandparents. I crawled in bed with my mom at ten o’clock at night and told her my blankie got to ride in the back of my aunt’s truck with their dog, Odie. She said the blankie could sleep outside for the night and get a bath in the morning. I laid my head on her chest and watched Shamu being born on the TV show 20/20.

Once I was invited to our only neighbor’s birthday party. My mom got a call, hours before the party, to notify her that it was a swimming party at the YMCA. She wouldn’t let me go. I remember storming up to my room, perfectly enraged that my mother had ruined my social life. She probably saved my life life, as I couldn’t swim and there weren’t enough chaperones.

There are a lot of food related kid-memories: the day old homemade chocolate chip cookies kept in a corning ware dish on the countertop. I could barely reach to slide the glass lid off and get my little fingers around a cookie. I remember them being just as good as the ones Mom gave me warm from the oven with a little cup of cold milk.

She always cut my PB&Js into four pieces. If the bread was frozen she would stand them on edge around a plate as they thawed. She used the perfect ratio of peanut butter and jelly.

I remember stirring the cornbread mush stuff once when she was making polenta. She complimented me on the way it was turning out and I felt like a master of the kitchen. I owe all of my cooking skill to her.

She made my stuffed animals Egbert (a tiny bear) and Rudy Wishmas (a reindeer) Halloween costume masks and trick or treat bags. I still have those somewhere I’m sure.

And just this past Saturday, she got my daughter to eat pumpkin pie. She cut it so tiny it was like a doll-sized piece and she gave her a tiny cocktail fork to eat with. If only for the cuteness, Julia ate and said it was “delicious.”

I’m convinced that if my daughter can remember even half as many wonderful things about me as I do about my mom, I’ll have done well with my career choice.