WRITTEN ON May 13th, 2012 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Baking
As most of you have probably figured out by now, I had my baby. A month early, in the dark of a February night. At the risk of sounding like a complete cliché, it has been the most incredible experience of my life. I don’t imagine anything will ever eclipse the combined joy of giving birth and new motherhood. The speed with which I fell in love with my son was mind-bending, and while I’m sure I’ll have lots of baby related posts in the future, I’m not sure I’m ready to fully process the emotion of it all just yet.
Having said that, this is Mother’s Day, and my for first blog post post-partum, I wanted to take a minute to thank my mom in a deeper way, because I finally know what it’s like to love your own child.
I had the kind of mom that most kids wished they had. She was a perfect mix between career woman and at home mom. She was a full time art teacher at my school, and always up to her elbows in clay, and paint and stencils, but somehow still found time to coach my lacrosse and hockey teams and make us dinner every night. She was home with us after school every day, and all summer long. And I’m only just now starting to appreciate all those little things she did that most likely annoyed me at the time. Like bring me water bottles full of ice water and physically squirt them into my mouth while I was sitting on the lifeguard stand on witheringly hot days in July (this makes her sound like a helicopter mom, which she categorically wasn’t. She just knew her kid and she knew I wouldn’t drink it if she just left it there.)
The first time my dear sweet baby boy had a massive-blow-out-man-sized turd, the first thing I thought as I was cutting him out of his onesie wasn’t “this is disgusting” but, “wow, I should really call Mom.” There have been so many moments lately where I’ve fleetingly realized, she did all this for me too, as I’m doing it now for my little bear.
So I wanted to rattle a few quick apologies – just the first things that come to mind. I’m hoping the statute of limitations hasn’t run out on some of these.
I’m sorry for telling you I hated you when you grounded me (what for?) and prevented me from going to the Court Dance in seventh grade, resulting in Chase Martin asking Beth out instead of me (which was rumored to have been the original plan.) You were right. Twenty years later and I couldn’t care less (no offense, Chase.)
I’m sorry for any time I forgot to call and tell you I was going to be home late (or not at all.)
I’m sorry for coming home from every college break and making a beeline for my boyfriend or my friends, barely staying home long enough to tell you I’d gotten a D in Psych 101.
I’m sorry for every time you spent an hour making dinner for all of us, after your own long work day, only to hear “ugh, chicken again?”
I’m sorry for interrupting your Winesday dinners by insisting that you and your friends listen to me sing the entire Peter Pan album, when all any of you wanted to do was have a kid free evening to drink pink wine (hey, it was the 80’s) and kvetch.
But most importantly, I’m sorry for ever taking you for granted, for not reaching out enough, for not giving you enough in return. I finally realize just what it takes to love a child – the bizarre cocktail of unfettered joy, utter amazement, and sheer, wild terror. I realize that I’ve signed myself up for a lifetime of wonder and worry – and heartbreak – all rolled into one. Which is of course what you have been dealing with for the past 33 years.
So thank you, Mom. Thank you for being such a fantastic role model – funny, smart, good-lookin’, committed, competitive, easy to be with, intimidatingly capable. But most of all, thank you for just being present. I love you madly, and not just on Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day Banana Bread
Banana bread wasn’t something that was a standard at our house, but I remember a batch my mother made several years ago that was so delicious I’ve been trying to live up to it ever since. She told me the secret was to use bananas that were so brown any sane person would throw them away. She was right – the skins are yucky but the flesh is soft and super sweet.
¾ cup white all purpose flour
¼ cup + 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, at room temp
2 eggs, at room temp, beaten lightly
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Combine the flours, salt and baking soda and powder in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat till just combined and the texture of sand. Add the beaten eggs, chocolate chips and pecans. Fold in the bananas and vanilla extract. Pour into a greased loaf pan, bake in lower third of the oven for about 50 minutes until a toothpick comes out just clean. Cool on a rack and share with your mom.