I love my mother. I love her with all of my heart as I think she is the most wonderful woman on earth. So, mom….if you’re reading this....stop reading now!
My mom will occasionally come to stay with me for a few days. Sometimes she’ll come to help out by watching my dog when I travel for business or sometimes just come for a visit. I always anxiously await my mom’s visits, as I know I’ll be treated like a king….until day three. That’s about the time we both start to get on each other’s nerves and I start helping to pack mom’s bag.
Something about a grown man spending too much time with his mother does something to a man’s self-image. I’m not a small man in stature, over six feet tall and somewhere around 200 pounds (depending on how hard I suck in my stomach). Regardless of my waist circumference, being around my mom for too long does something to me in terms of size and age. I go from being a 52-year-old man and somehow turn into a skinny 10-year-old boy all over again. Believe me, there are times when I wish I was 10 years old again. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. But feeling that way at this point in my life can be a bit frustrating.
When my mom comes to visit, I can count on some home cooked meals that are absolutely delicious. A spaghetti sauce was never produced any better than what my mom can pull together. As a master baker, my mom can bake cookies and other assorted treats that would make even the most experienced professional baker envious. The first day or two of mom’s visits are fantastic, as we talk and often reminisce about days gone by. By day three, however, I think we’re both ready to strangle each other (not literally, of course).
By day three of the visit, my mom has an uncanny knack of finding out things about me that I would prefer to not discuss. Topics such as the amount of alcohol I keep around the house, the humidor filled with cigars, the unkempt way I maintain my laundry room are all eventually discussed. Eventually we’ll make our way to topics such as my weight or the type of hair gel that I use (too “gooey” as she says).
Also by day three, my mom can’t seem to understand how it is that I haven’t kept up on every heinous murder case that has taken place in the Chicago area over the past several weeks. I try to keep up on current events as best as I can, but I admit I often turn a blind eye to any story that involves shootings, stabbings, beheadings or other various types of mutilations. I guess I just don’t have the stomach for that sort of thing. As a news hound, my mom seems to know all of the details associated with these awful happenings and can, at times, become disappointed in me that I don’t hold the same interest level.
I know I must be an awful person to rant on about a short three day visit when my mother is nice enough to not only visit, but cook delicious treats for me while she is here. It’s just not easy sometimes.
This past week, my mom came for another short stay. True to form, the first couple of days were great. The third day also coincided with a visit from my oldest daughter, who is 26. It’s a nice thing when a grandchild and grandparent can spend some quality time together and this was no exception. As mentioned, my mom is a wiz in the kitchen and often whips up some nice treats while she is here. On this trip, she made what is called “crullers”, a delicious fried treat that is sort of like a mini-elephant ear.
While the three of us were having coffee at the kitchen counter, the topic of crullers came up and my daughter asked my mom how those are made. My mom began to explain how to make this snack and as she began to get into the specifics, I could see a special look in her eye. A look of great joy appeared as someone was interested to know more about what she did. As she went on to further explain the details of her craft, my mind began to drift back in time some 40 years. I could envision my mom laying out the ingredients for the crullers on the kitchen counter, rolling out the dough and carefully cutting each piece of dough into the precise shape needed for the perfect treat. I could also vividly see the look of frustration on her face when a mistake was made and that particular treat was not up to specifications. That’s when she would ball up the dough and do it all over again until it was perfect.
Witnessing this scene at the kitchen counter was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. It was heartwarming to see the look of joy in her eyes as she explained the process. At the same time, it was heartbreaking to know that moments like that don’t last forever. As a friend mentioned to me the other day, he said “these are the good old days”. He was right. So, mom….when are you coming back?
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