What do mothers do?
What don’t they do? Perhaps that’s the better question this close to Mother’s day. (A lot of little, oft-repeated things.)
Take this morning, a delicious rainy unscheduled morning where my first commitment that requires grown up clothing is at noon. A day to celebrate the small.
Yes I did take out the trash, recycling, and mail, drove my son to school, and got the car washed—in my pajamas. One time when Suzie stayed with my boys while I was out of town, she headed out to do my car pool in her pajamas and my youngest Alec asked: “Aren’t you going to get dressed?” Suzie chuckled: “your mother NEVER does.” Alec said: “She wears a long black coat. That, my son, is known as a robe. (Apparently the disguise was more clever than I realized.)
I know it’s a good day because the smallest things are making me happy. Sightings, For example, I saw Alec’s girlfriend heading into the high school as I drove off. (Our schedules always seem to be synchronized despite great variation of mornings.) As I drove down our dirt road, I passed dear Matthew, my neighbor, son’s buddy and car pool emeritus, head off on his bike for his 8 am summer calculus class. Memories of years of harried, tired mornings made me grin in delight at Matthew. The only sighting missing was my pal Betsy who raises her coffee cup in salute when we pass on the road during our morning commute.
I’m heading into my last school car pools. Alec is 16 and if there’s ever a break in the basketball action, he will take his driver’s test. And I am equally nostalgic—and ecstatic–at the idea of an extra hour of morning slumber. What will I do without all that TLC to dispense? All that patience to practice.
This feeling carried me through my favorite hour in the kitchen. I love to cook in the morning when the house is quiet except for my books on tape, usually historical fiction, another time and place—and a steaming pot—inn which to immerse my own simmering self. Today, I made sloppy joes and cauliflower and carrots with turmeric. It is for tomorrow’s dinner. My husband will be coming in from a long week away, and by that time, Suzie and I will be on our way to an Among Friends’ appointment in Chicago. I want Gerry to be able to gather with Alec around something warm that is not pizza. Not pizza is the operative phrase here.
I check tomorrow’s meal off my mental checklist and say “done.” As I was driving yesterday, a newscaster reported on a study that showed you can create endorphins by actually saying “done” upon completion of a task. Just think of all opportunities mothers have. I may be well on my way to a happier brain.
Oddly enough I also heard a report this week that cited the positive effects of using using your hands on brain chemicals.
But ah, first I have to make dessert and pedal for at least 200 calories on my exercise bike while I watch Food Network (yes it is a strange combo) before I can trust my newly altered brain state. Or get properly dressed. I am not leaving joy to chance.
HMMMM. What Among Friends creation can I whip up in 15 minutes?
A note to mothers: While your family celebrates all the unsung mothering moments you bestow on them, pause and celebrate the small yourself. As my mentor mothers taught me, before my own experience confirmed their wisdom: SOME DAYS LAST FOREVER BUT THE YEARS FLY BY.
Makeahead Carrots and Cauliflower with turmeric*.
Slice 5 carrots in one inch diagonal pieces. Eat one of the carrots raw. Chop a head of cauliflower (I used golden) in roughly the same size. Use you hands or a spoon to toss with 1 T. of olive oil, a teaspoon of turmeric, and a generous dose of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes in a hot 400 oven. Reheat when time to eat. *Turmeric, a relative of ginger, contains more than 2 dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.