Food for Thought

I stood behind her at the counter, steadying the thick, ceramic bowl in my left hand and guiding her grip on the spoon with my right hand.  My arms fit nicely around her slight frame, and I realized that she would soon be as tall as I.

“This is how you fold in the blueberries.  Guide the spoon gently, but firmly, following the circle of the bowl, then fold the mixture on top of itself, taking care not to break up the berries.”

The pungent scent of vanilla, together with the raw flour, butter, and eggs drifted up to my nose, and I couldn’t help but close my eyes and inhale a deep breath of buttery goodness.

**********

I balanced on a creaky, wooden stepstool, boosted high enough that my elbows cleared the gold, Formica countertop.  I grasped the old, cracked ceramic bowl with the blue band around its belly, struggling to see the contents inside.

Mother instructed me to measure out the flour, and I felt so grown up, trusted to level off the soft, white powder over the rim of the ancient, copper measuring cup.

We didn’t say much as we mixed, folded, baked, and glazed.
 
Words of affection were a rare gift from her, but this time spent together served to assure me that I was wanted and loved.  The time she took to teach me, when she could have done it on her own so much faster.
  
The satisfaction on her face when the plump, golden muffins we made together came out of the oven was the closest I ever came to hearing her say she loved me or was proud of me.

Now, so many years later, as I guide my own daughter’s hand on the thick, wooden spoon, I think of all the ways our relationship is different, by design.  We laugh, we talk, we share, sometimes we fight, but we always come back around to unconditional love.

Once she is grown, I hope she recalls the times we spent together at the counter, concocting something out of nothing, with fondness.

But I hope she cherishes my words of love, affection, pride, and devotion even more.

Because words are important and should never be left unspoken.

Come read some awesomely important words over at Yeah Write, or better yet, submit your own.


Comments

  1. Beautiful. Interesting how mothers interact differently with their children, isn't it? I'm glad you learned a more concrete and audible affection somewhere along the way and are modeling that to your daughter. Yay for the power of words!

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    1. Thank you! I, too, am glad that I am breaking the cycle and doing it differently with my daughter, although not perfectly, I'm sure!

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  2. You paint such a fantastic visual and an important message written wonderfully.

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  3. I love this. Some of my earliest memories are of my mom teaching me how to bake in the kitchen, and every time she comes to visit me, or I go to visit her, we always bake something together.

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    1. There is a special bonding that occurs when mother and daughter mix flour, eggs, and butter. Quite magical!

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  4. First of all-- yum. And delicious memories. So well done.

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  5. Cooking with the kiddo is always great fun and is such a good lesson for them of how its done right..not the cooking the parenting....

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  6. This is all so true. Words matter. Of course we know they do, because hello? Look at us fastidiously pouring out our words. Wonderful sensory post.

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    1. Thank you, Bill. I know I'm preaching to the choir here :)

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  7. "Because words are important and should never be left unspoken." Amen.

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  8. I am in a similar situation, although I would be likened to your daughter. I used to always get so embarrassed by how exaggeratedly my mother would tell me she loved me. I mean, I knew she did, right? But as I got older and it started to mean more, she confessed to me that her mother was quiet and never really spoke beyond the surface at all. It's amazing how much she learned from that experience, and I'm SO lucky to have her as my mom - just as your daughter is lucky to have you.

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  9. This is so sweet. I don't remember ever really cooking with my mom. It wasn't our "thing". I don't have any daughters, but my younger son enjoys cooking with me. I hope he has fond memories like what you've described here.

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  10. What a beautiful post! That is my greatest wish for my kids that they will look back and remember my words of love as well. Sadly, there will not be any fondly-remembered baking stories, unless you count the time I almost burned the house down. :)

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  11. What a wonderful touching moment. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

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  12. This was so cleverly done and sweet! I cook with my boys often - they LOVE it! I swear I think it's their favorite thing to do with me, and I think it's because they have my full attention, ya know? Touching.

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  13. What a gorgeously captured reflection of motherhood, from generation to generation. When I think of all I learned from my parents, I only hope I can pass on that much to my kids.

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