Mom Ratted Me Out
The first time Big D met my mom was in a hospital in Texas. She had undergone surgery for ovarian cancer – the same cancer from which her mother died before I was born. The anesthesia hadn’t completely worn off her 5’3’’, 98 lb. frame, and she was receiving morphine for the pain. It was not the ideal time for introductions.
But the image of that moment shouldn’t distract you from the truth. The truth that I, as a tall woman, daughter of a petite woman, and friend to many petite women in my life have learned:
There are none so volitional as the Lilliputian-al.
Or, in Texas speech:
Petite women are pistols.
My little momma, with dry mouth, sore throat, sick stomach, and drugged body said her first words to the love of her daughter’s life. There was something so important, it had to be said – right then:
“Don’t. You. Let. Her. Fool. You. She’s a good cook.”
I was blown. (See The Bourne Identity.)
When Big D and I met, I was living on microwaved hot dogs and nachos. I was simply done with cooking. I wanted to spend my time other ways. But . . . we fell in love, I wanted to show off my coconut pie, he wanted to flip an omelet for me . . . and one thing led to another. . . . It was a slippery slope.
Now, I know what I’m about to say is going to sound like a childhood tall tale. (In my day we didn’t have texting. We passed notes in class . . . on origami tessellations.) But, my single mother who worked 40+ hours a week in suits and high heels, cooked dinner for me every night. And because of her experience as the president of the Home Economics Association, dinner always included a protein, an orange or yellow vegetable, a starch, and a green vegetable. At five years old, I ate Brussels sprouts.
And I liked them.
So, I feel a little guilty and waaay self-indulgent when I post my food on this blog. I think of her, and all our mothers who spent hours in the kitchen for us . . . no one taking artful pictures of their food; no one “following” their recipes; no bigger audience than their families. The only “likes” they wanted, or needed were from us.
I miss my mom. I miss the times we spent in the kitchen together. I miss the security I felt when I watched her cook for me. I miss the way she cut vegetables in her hands – never using a cutting board. I miss the way she shook the water off her hands after she washed them. I miss the talks we had while she worked.
But thanks to her morphine-induced betrayal the day she met Big D, I don’t miss her cooking. I keep her recipes at the ready, her traditions at the holidays, and her lessons at the foundation of my kitchen and my life.
– Anita, Noted in Nashville