My mom is fabulous at a great many things. Some I recognized even as an awkward, mall-bang-wearing (not a word), self-conscious teen. Many, many more I have discovered like golden Easter eggs in the great hunt of parenthood.
She and my dad have been so gracious to come and stay with our family during the first few weeks home with each of my new babes. And, let me tell you, my mom can whip a house in to tidy, sparkling clean order like nobody I know, and she can do it with breakneck speed and still be raring to cuddle or cajole her precious grandchildren.
Growing up in my house, with my mom as the lone chef, I sat down to a hot meal every night, served family style with just the right amount for each of us and always little waste.
During my new mommy days, when my mom and dad stayed with us, my mom put on the apron (literally) as head chef, coming in with her meals and menus already set and a grocery list preplanned for my father's day trips. Those weeks, though exhausting and surreal, were totally heavenly and peaceful for me as my sweet mother added the delicious smells and necessary order that my new (and now forever) chaotic life so needed.
My mother knows how to present a meal. She presents a snack. She presents a drink. In creating her menus, she considers nutrition as well as color combinations, food placement, and dish selections. In my home, I watched her find new serving dishes, carefully fluff and arrange the food on my plates, and fold my cheap paper napkins into something special.
This gift is one of those I overlooked as a youngling, and one that I, now in her shoes as a mom of three, totally get. And I realize that all of these little (and significant) ways that she cared for me through her meals and treats and presentations made me enjoy food more and in the end make some better choices.
We all know just how beautiful the colors and textures of food can be, and we're blessed to have so many beautiful food blogs out there to elicit intense salivation (check out Dawn's amazing food photos
that I swear I can smell through the screen).
But before I had those, I had my mom, and I'm trying in little ways to incorporate her energy. I completely feel like a rockstar mom when our food looks like I want to take out my iPhone and snap a shot (and I get a great laugh out of little L asking me why I'm taking pictures of grapes). My children have a visceral reaction, too, though they would not be able to name it, much as I was unable to do the same in my parent's home.
It's a good mom day when the grapes are sliced and placed in a pretty white bowl. I've achieved the simple, true act of pouring out the love I've been so graciously given.
Love ya, Mom.