There are days where the sting of losing my mother is stronger than others. The two days that are the worse, without a doubt, are Mother’s Day and Christmas.
For many years, Mother’s Day was like most Sundays in our family. My mom would fix lunch for all of us and I would bring the dessert. My brothers’ wives would sometimes contribute to the meal, but Mama would most likely make her signature baked brisket (think of it as a brisket pot roast) or ham and various side dishes that were decided on what she was craving that week.
Yes … we were treated almost every Sunday to her meals. She liked nothing better than for all of her kids to be under one roof and when grandchildren were added to the mix, she was in pure heaven – as most grandmothers would be in that situation.
One year, we deviated from the plan. I was going to make lasagna. This was from a recipe of a friend of mine, Debbi Hayden, one she got from a real Italian grandmother. The sauce is cooked slowly where all the flavors meld. I did mine in a crockpot the day before. The smell of tomatoes, spices and meat filled my small kitchen. I carefully boiled the wide pasta and expertly layered the sauce, the ricotta cheese mixture (that had been mixed with fresh parsley and garlic) and other cheeses in the large casserole dish. It weighed a ton once assembled and I placed it in the oven. A side salad was made as was some garlic bread, steamed broccoli and a dessert (which fails me now.)
Let me explain about my old gas oven. It was one of those tanks of an oven. It was one like your grandma used to baked cakes and make turkey dinners. It also had a weird rack. If you pulled it out too far, it would teeter. (You see where I’m going with this, right?)
While removing this dish (which took over 24 hours to make because of the crock pot sauce) it not only teetered – it tottered. It TOTTERED, y’all! Like, jumped up, did a flip and landed face down on the floor. I yelled words that I didn’t even know I knew at that instant. Thank goodness I was not a mother at the time or my children would have surely uttered those words verbatim at the grocery store, church or doctor’s waiting room.
Then the tears started flowing. I was upset, angry and disappointed. Here I was trying to be a good daughter and provide Sunday lunch for my mom on HER day and I failed. I called her to explain what happened, and, like the good mother that she was, she suggested to stop at the store and pick up some steaks.
And just like that, we had a wonderful lunch, albeit very different from what was planned. The way I see it, there are times I look back on that day. This life without my mom is still so very wonderful – but it is also very different from what I had planned. Here’s to all the wonderful mothers out there – both human and furry, female and male, near and far, physically with us or not – Happy Mother’s Day.
SUE BROWN is a columnist of the Pleasanton Express. Contact her at email@example.com.