Thursday, July 7, 2011


I quite frequently refer to stories about my children.  I do this for a number of reasons, primarily because they're good examples of what I'm rambling about at the time, but also because I'm their mom and I happen to think they're relatively amazing.  But today I am going to indulge myself without feeling guilty.  It's my birthday and goshdarnit, I want to talk about one of my kids!

My husband and I have been taking turns with each of the kids this summer to give them a break from each other.  We've been living with my parents while we both look for steady employment.  My mother has a small home about an hour from here, so my husband takes one of the kids down for a few days while the other spends time with me.

Well, today is my birthday.  For the last several days, my daughter has mentioned, "It's almost your birthday, isn't it?"  Then in the last day or two, the questions have changed.  "Do you like blueberries?' she kept asking me.  "We're not going to use those blueberries in the refrigerator, are we?  Because I like them and I need to have some."  Right.  Because I haven't been your mom for over ten years and seen the faces you make at the very thought of consuming any kind of berry.

But I played along.  "Oh...uh, yeah...we can make sure there's some waiting for you," I told her last night when the inquisition began again.  "I won't use them."

An hour or so later, casually, she said, "I really like pancakes."  Then, "Do you like blueberry pancakes, Mom?"

In all reality, I actually do like blueberry pancakes but not enough to make them very often.  But again, I went with it.  "Oh, yeah.  They're good, aren't they?"

"Yeah," she agreed.

Later that evening she went to make some cupcakes and got upset.  There were no more eggs.  "How can I make cupcakes without eggs, Mom?  I can't make cupcakes now."

"Sure you can...just substitute applesauce."

In case you don't know, you can substitute applesauce in a pinch for eggs in a baked goods recipe.  Depending on the recipe, it may or may not work as well as an egg.  The cupcakes turned out fairly flat and kind of stuck to the wrapper.  But my daughter was pleased with the taste of them--and the fancy tips on the frosting can.  That was almost more fun than anything else.

So imagine my surprise when I awoke to the cheery singsongy twelve-year old voice of my daughter.  "Happy Birthday!" she sang.  "Breakfast in bed for you!:

I was immediately thrown back in time to a Mother's Day several years ago when both of my children made me breakfast.  I believe it was graham crackers, peanut butter raisins, and toast.  It was so cute that I couldn't stop smiling the whole time.

My daughter placed the tray on my lap very carefully, then pointed out each item she had made.  "Blueberry pancakes," she announced first, pointing to her creation.  "Hash browns, and bacon."
I thanked her but before I could invite her to share, she had skipped out of the room.

Everything was delicious.  I thought about how many times in a day this kid brightens my smile, how often she takes pride in doing thoughtful things for me.  I was in awe, particularly, at the patience she showed in making hash browns.  She had shredded those potatoes herself,

She wandered back a few minutes later to offer me seconds, which I politely declined.  I thought about this child's career goal as a restaurant owner and executive chef, and I could easily see that happening for her.  Not only because she can cook, but because she's very determined.Most people call that stubborn when they see it in a child, but that kind of character trait will pay off for her as an adult.  I'm extremely proud of her today.  Not only did she make me a delicious breakfast as a present, she used her talents to create something memorable. And that, to me, is beautiful.

A few hours later it occurred to me that we still didn't have any eggs, and I asked her, "How did you make pancakes without eggs?"

As though she were talking to a child, she said, "Applesauce, mom." Then she smirked at me.  "I would have made you fried eggs," she said teasingly, "but I didn't think you would want me to substitute applesauce for that."

Yeah, she's a smart kid, huh?

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