Friday, May 13, 2011

Mother's Day

I love my mom more than anything in this world. She’s done so much for me, day after day after day, for the last sixteen years of my life. All the childhood years go without saying, but my mom still takes care of my brothers and me, even though we’re old enough to take on some of that responsibility. She cooks all our meals, does the dishes, and drives us wherever we need to go.

Whenever Mother’s Day rolls around every year, I tell myself that I’m going to be a better daughter and start picking up some of the slack. And I do try; I do all my dishes after I’m done eating or baking, I do my own laundry, and I try to get to wherever I want to go by myself. But honestly, I don’t have the time and energy to take care of myself. Between school, clubs, homework, and other things on my perpetually long to-do list, I feel like I barely have enough time to sleep, which even my super-awesome mom has noticed. She’s always telling me to go to sleep earlier and doing the dishes/laundry/whatever other chore I needed to get done for me so that I can finish my homework and hit the hay. I love my mom for all these things she does for us, but above all, I love her for all the love she’s given us over the years and for listening and trying to understand us.

This Mother’s Day, I wanted to do something special for my mom, so I decided to make dinner for my family and clean up the dishes afterwards. After kicking my parents out of the kitchen, I enlisted my brothers to help me prepare the meal. It’s not easy to get them to help me in the kitchen, but they try to make an effort when it’s a special family occasion. My older brother bought flowers for my mom.

“So what do I need to do?” he asked.

“Dishes,” I replied.

He declared that he had done the dishes that had been left in the sink that morning and that we could just take his name of the card because he’d rather not do the dishes.  

Luckily, my younger brother Kyle was a lot more helpful. We made pink beet soup, roasted red pepper, onion, and tomato sauce for pasta, and honey tapioca pudding. Originally, I had planned to make a lasagne with homemade sage pasta. I found out the hard way that attempting to make pasta without a pasta roller is a very exhausting and time-consuming process. It makes me wonder how people ever got by without the technology we have today.

 I wiped my brow from all the exertion it had taken just to roll out half of my pasta dough into irregularly thick squares of pasta noodles. I despaired at the thought of having to repeat the process of rolling out the other half of the dough and decided to just throw in the towel and use dry pasta. 

When my parents came home, they found me amidst my pasta crisis, flour all over my hands and arms and streaking my face. My mom offered to help cook the salmon teriyaki. At first, I felt like I’d failed at making a special dinner for her. It was nearing 7:30 and only the soup and pasta sauce was done. But after a while, I accepted her help wholeheartedly; I realized that she was genuinely trying to help me and that she didn’t expect me to be able to throw a four course meal onto the table by myself. All the pressure I was under had come from my need to be as perfect as possible.

My dad came into the kitchen, presumably to help, and began poking at the pasta. I groaned. At my house, we tend to let failed food items sit on the counter for a while before throwing them out. It’s hard to throw out food when we’ve wasted it, so we take care of it after we’ve eaten. I told him that he could do whatever he wanted with the pasta dough and he lit up and began rolling the rest of the dough out. My dad’s the type of person who asks all my friends whether they’re hungry or not the moment they sit down when they come over. Then he offers to fix them something to eat, regardless of whether they respond that they are hungry or not. (Jenny would know this). He likes cooking and occasionally throwing things together and I sensed that the pasta was going to end up “casually thrown-together” with some other food.

As I helped my dad roll out the pasta, he whipped up a quick pork filling for dumplings. My mom laughed and rolled her eyes. I laughed too when I saw the fat, scrunched up pouches, bursting with cooked meat. I learned a really important lesson on Mother’s Day. Family support and help each other and try to turn mistakes into things we could laugh about and learn from.

 I love my family and I love my mom. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

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