I awake to the muffled sounds of shared secrets coming from the kitchen. Little chefs are working on a surprise, so I feign sleep until they burst in with a tray of French toast, fruit, tea, a flower and a handmade card. Breakfast in bed is an activity for Mother’s Day when the kids are young. Exciting, endearing, and usually followed by washing the sheets.
Preparing and presenting this ceremonial meal is one of the first times you realize how easy cooking looks when mom is doing it. Making scrambled eggs just firm enough; keeping the toast warm enough to melt the butter; not sloshing the tea. But when you’re so proud to bring your attempt in on a tray, every mom expresses appreciation, even if the food bears improvement. I’m pretty sure my mom hugged me so I couldn’t see when she tucked some of those eggs under the toast.
As a child, I didn’t suffer from low self-esteem, but I always enjoyed it when something I did would make my mom happy. Whether it was cleaning a bathroom so that she didn’t feel compelled to clean it again, weeding the garden to save her some of that back-breaking labor, or making her tea just right. Somehow we know our mom will love us, no matter what, but it’s especially sweet when you know you’re not making her try too hard.
I probably never thought about it till I was a mother, but you retain this role forever. No matter how old your kids are, you never stop being their mother. I’ve grown to accept that they can make their own decisions, work through challenges, and manage most life skills. When asked, I’m happy to share my arcane knowledge of writing a check or filing taxes. In turn, they share great books, TV shows and movies I might otherwise miss.
This Mother’s day my children aren’t bringing me a tray, but they’re doing something pretty impressive: getting their bearings in adult work life and crushing it. And for that, I’m happy to make my own breakfast.