Sunday, October 10, 2004

Caramel Custard

There is a letter that circulates called "The Meanest Mother in The Whole World". It probably circulates the internet - everything else does. Someone in the priesthood sent a copy to me for Mother's Day this year. I'll throw it away after I write this. Whomever wrote it, wrote it tongue in cheek. They were very grateful that they had a very strict disciplinarian mother.

I had seen it numerous times before and each time it had given me the same sickly feeling that I have writing this. Everyone's mother is not the same. My grandmother wasn't, my mother wasn't and I'm not. Just because someone is strict doesn't make them a good mother or certainly a role model. My grandmother, Gran, was a wonderful role model. Yes, she was strict. Times were hard throughout her life. She lived from the horse and buggy through to seeing a man land on the moon. Modern conveniences like we know them were non-existent for her. However, her daughter (my mother) has lived for those things vowing never to live in the country.

As I age, which seems to be happening all too fast, I realize that being strict or mean isn't my definition of a good mother. I would have craved a mother who would have just explained the simplest things. I would have so enjoyed conversations about anything. I don't remember any. When you look at many of my childhood pictures, I'm unhappy or pouting. When they talk about me, it is about me running away to my next door neighbor's house. Everyone talks about it in jest. Even as I look back, it doesn't seem funny. So many memories are of my parents leaving to go out. I felt like an outcast from friends. My stylish mother who was pictured in hundreds of Social photos in the newspaper really didn't care about my clothing. Those are the things I remember. Dressing right has always been a challenge for me.

On Mondays or Tuesdays now, I bake caramel custard. Caramel Custard is a dessert I've only put into my mouth one time, as a child. I didn't like it. However, my mother always made it for sick people. Now, I make it for her in the nursing home.

So, I don't think you can say that mean moms make the best moms. My mom was mean in the sense of abandonment and a bit of neglect thrown in. She is a beautiful woman on the outside still and she knows it and will tell you, even if you don't ask.

No comments: