It’s a special day that first time a daughter calls home after moving away and asks for Mom’s advice. It happened with us this past school year when Josie called from her apartment and asked how to make deviled eggs. I read her the recipe from my old Better Homes and Gardens loose leaf, my basic cooking reference. (Between us, my mother and I bought four different volumes of this cookbook as it has been updated through the years.)
Soon after that first cooking question, Josie called again to ask how to poach eggs. I decided she needs the latest BHG volume (making No. 5 in our family’s collection). I explained that I never had great success with real poached eggs, coddled in water. I’ve always used a skillet fitted with the little metal poaching pans. She wanted to try the real thing, the “pink eggs” that Uncle Tom makes so beautifully. I read her the instructions in BHG and wished her luck. The text message she sent the next morning said simply, “Poached eggs a success!”
My advice didn’t contribute to this early cooking triumph of hers, but just her knowledge that I cared what she was up to may have. It’s what mothers do best, being there for their kids.
I’ve mentioned before, and I’ll say again, that although my husband may have turned my head and captured my heart all by himself when our lives together began, I have no doubt his mother provided an edge that sealed the deal. I could never ask for a better mother-in-law. Since my own mother died, I can’t imagine living without Mary Lou’s common sense advice and the feeling that she cares for me as though I were her own daughter. She’s always there for me.
I ran across some great quotes defining what mothers can mean to us. Here are some of my favorites.
Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.
A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.
Sing out loud in the car, even — or especially, if it embarrasses your children.
Setting a good example for your children takes all the fun out of middle age.
Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your children.
It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn’t.
Children are a great comfort in your old age — and they help you reach it faster, too.
When your kids are grown, you understand how much work and love it takes to raise and to keep a family together. The example of your strength, devotion, and patience now ripples through the generations.