Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Day’

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Monday, May 12, 2014
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It’s the morning after Mother’s Day, and like many of you, I oooh’d and awww’d over school-made cards and objects that we shall call Fifth Grade Pottery.  In unusual fashion, I told my husband not to worry with meals and flowers this year since my birthday was celebrated earlier in the week.  The poor guy gets slammed in the month of May between my birthday, Mother’s Day, and the anniversary of our first date (which I insist we celebrate 23 years later).  Throw in Memorial Day (just because), and he’s ready to commit suicide by paper cut.

One of the handmade gifts came in the form of a Mother’s Day questionnaire.  It’s a good thing my daughters are cute.

All right, girls.  Here’s the essay part. Ready to begin? My mom is as pretty as:

Maryn (age 8) : A rose.

Ava (age 10): I have to think. Wait.

K: It’s that hard, Ava?

A: Right now?

K: Moving on…

A: No! I’ve got it! A diamond ring.

K: I sparkle?

A:  Sometimes.

(It’s 7:35 a.m.)

She is as sweet as:

M:  Candy.

A: (Laughing)

K:  Here we go again.

A:  You’re as sweet as…hold on.  I have to think of what it’s called.

M:  A donut?

A: I know this.  Okay…you’re as sweet as a pomegranate.

K: They’re tart, Ava.

She is as smart as:

M:  A teacher!

A: Umm….hmmmm.

K: I’m kicking you off the questionnaire, Ava.

A: Um…I don’t know what you’re smart at doing.

K: Thanks.

A: You are as smart as a teacher. Like Maryn said. But just in English.

K: Gee, I can’t wait for you to become a sarcastic teenager.

But most of all, she is as special as:

M:  Our whole family.

K:  I’m as special as the rest of you?

M: Yes.

A:  You’re as special as the Kentucky Derby.

K: Great. I bet you mean the infield.

Now the fill-in-the-blank part, otherwise known as short answer, or how you answered the essay portion of this thing. 

1. I really love it when my mom:

M:  Takes naps with me.

K: That’s been a while.  Look at the bags under my eyes. We should do that today.

A: I really love it when my mom is in a good mood.

K: You’re not helping matters.

2.  My mom likes to wear:

M:  Dresses.

A: Pajamas.

K: I don’t like you very much right now, Ava.

3.  My mom always tells me:

M: That she loves me.

A: You tell me a lot of things.

K: Pick the most frequent saying.

A: You always tell me … hmmm…. that I HAVE TO CUT MY HAIR.

(Maryn sneezes three times and needs allergy medicine.)

K: You do. It’s stringy and flat, and as long as I’m doing the arm work every morning, it has to be shorter.

4. My mom’s favorite food is:

M: Tomato mac and cheese.

K: When did I make that?

M:  After the mac and cheese cook-off.  You said you liked it.

A: I don’t know.  What is your favorite food? What do you like to eat a lot? Oh – I know. Steak!

K: At the Chop House, on my birthday, when it’s free.

5. My mom’s favorite household chore is:

M: Doing laundry!

K: Oh, yes. I love that.  I really love it when the dog eats a sock and needs emergency surgery.

A: Cooking dinner.

K:  …which you never eat.

6. The best thing she cooks is:

M: Pepperoni rolls.

K:  I haven’t made those since you were in kindergarten.

M:  But I remember them.

A:  You make good tacos.

K:  They’re from a kit! I add cheese and lettuce!

7. When my mom shops, she likes to buy:

M: Dresses.

K: And I have no place to wear them.

A:  Makeup.

K:  Which I should wear even if I have no place to wear dresses.

8. My mom’s favorite movie or TV show is:

M:  Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

K:  Yes. I love that movie.  I need to watch it again.

A: Your favorite TV show is Mad Men.

K:  Tomorrow night at 10:00! You need to be in bed asleep by 9.

9. If your mom could go on a trip, she would go to:

M:  The beach.

A: Churchill Downs.  I’d like to go there again since I passed out last year.

K: On the track.  I remember it well.

A: Can we go back?

K:  Maybe after the Paul McCartney concert.

A:  Where One Direction played?! Paul’s going to perform on the same stage as Harry Styles!

K:  I’m sure that’s what Sir Paul said, too.

10. I love my mom because:

M:  Because you love me.

K:  Think hard, Ava.  This one is a toughie.

A: I love my mom because she takes us on nice trips….like the One Direction concert.

K:  Do you love me more than Harry Styles?

A:  I love you both the same.

 

I guess I should’ve stopped while I was ahead.

Happy Mother’s Day After to all of our Mommyhood readers, particularly the ladies who stand in for those moms who are no longer with us.

 

Fondly,

Katy

The Brunch Bunch

Saturday, May 11, 2013
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Warm pancakes with freshly picked strawberries are a delightful Mother’s Day treat.

Ask any Mom what the most important meal of the day is and you’re almost guaranteed to receive the same answer- breakfast. Moms know eating breakfast supplies kids with the energy and brain power they need to do well in school. Every day of the year, mothers all across the US ensure their children have a healthy start to the day by preparing them a nutritious breakfast.

Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your mom gratitude for all of her hard work by providing breakfast for her. Children love to help in the kitchen. Allowing them to help prepare breakfast on this special day is a way for them to develop new cooking skills and show mom how much they care.

Preschool-age children are able to stir and mix foods like eggs, pancakes and quick breads. School-age children can help peel and chop veggies and fruit (with assistance), stir foods while cooking and even crack an egg. Teenagers can help plan a menu, shop for the food and may even be able to prepare an entire meal on their own.

If your normal Sunday routine is rushed, a way to simplify this special morning is to serve brunch. Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch and can be served anytime from mid-morning to early afternoon. Breakfast and lunch foods often appear side by side on a brunch menu. Flavors can range from sweet and tangy to caramelized and spicy. Ideas for a special Mother’s Day brunch include yogurt parfaits topped with fruit and granola; egg, cheese and ham omelets; savory soufflés made with cheese or chocolate; and mixed dishes like an egg and veggie frittata.  Juice made from fresh squeezed oranges, and fruit like juicy ripe strawberries, are a sweet addition that no one can resist.

Did you know that Mother’s Day was developed by a native West Virginian and was first celebrated in Taylor County? Anna Jarvis is credited with establishing our nation’s first Mother’s Day in 1908 when she sent over 1000 carnations in her mother’s memory to Andrews United Methodist Church in Grafton. What better way to honor our state’s tradition than to include some locally grown foods on your brunch menu? Simple ideas include using locally grown honey to top biscuits or to sweeten hot tea. Serving farm fresh asparagus will brighten up any plate and has an added bonus- the locally grown version is only available for a short time each spring. Finally, don’t forget to include local foods like eggs and spinach, which are plentiful at most farmers markets right now.

No matter what menu you choose for your mom on Mother’s Day, she’s sure to feel loved and admired when she realizes the amount of thought and effort you put into her special day. For two uniquely flavored sweet and savory dishes, try this warm chocolate soufflé and vegetable frittata with simple side salad recipes.

What are you making mom for Mother’s Day brunch? Tweet or Instagram your pictures using #meal4mom and #WVUext.

 

The Mistaken Identities of Mothers

Monday, June 11, 2012
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I walk and type well.

Throughout the school year, my husband drops off our daughters and I pick them up. On one of the last days of the semester, Mike had to attend an early meeting, so I was in the driver’s seat.

“Where’s Dad?” Maryn asked.

“He had to be at work very early, so I’m taking you to school,” I replied.

“What do you do all day?” Maryn inquired. And then Ava joined the interrogation. “Do you read and watch TV?”

My jaw dropped.

“Read and watch TV?  I suppose you think I take naps, too!” I snapped. And then, my inner Julia Sugarbaker — a.k.a. “The Terminator” — tore through my tee-shirt and well-worn jeans.

“Do you know why there are loads of laundry on the basement floor? Do you know why you ate cereal for dinner last night? Do you know why my hair is hanging in my face? Because I have a schedule, too! I write! What gave you the impression that I flip channels?” (Perhaps they read last week’s blog about my love affair with summer vacation…)

My rant continued.

“How do you think I managed to write a book and get it published? Do you not know that I write a column every week — about the two of you, I should add — and I write stories for anyone else who asks for them? Do you not know that I pay for the groceries with paychecks from clients who hire me to do these things?”

Ok…enough. They had no idea how I spent my days because they weren’t here. Yet something gave them the idea that I was a loafer. They don’t understand what I do because much of it is invisible. I write from my office in the basement, where they never darken the door, and I email everything I compose. Their father, on the other hand, brings work home every night and spreads it out on the kitchen counter (and dining room table and living room floor…). He has computers and stacks of drawings and handbooks and guidebooks and red pencils and all of those things that make him look busy and important. But not Mama.

In May, the girls’ school hosted “Career Day” and invited parents to discuss their professions with students at booths (lunch tables).  I returned the volunteer form the very next day, indicating that I would show how a rough manuscript becomes a real book.  Ava and Maryn were glad to see me, but I admit that I didn’t draw much of a crowd.  I was upstaged by a veterinarian and his three-legged dog, and a nurse who dressed gory-looking “wounds”.  The other star attraction was an engineer who knew his knowledge of math and science wouldn’t be too entertaining, so he brought along his hobby farm of chickens. I knew I should have taken my cat.

Next time, I’m going to skip Career Day in exchange for “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”. The girls are going to participate in the event by sitting in on my assignments. They’re going to read pages of legal briefs and summarize them in three sentences. They’re going to come up with interview questions to ask sources for upcoming articles. They’re going to research websites to learn more about topics such as Marcellus Shale and carbon sequestration. They’re going to write remarks for an upcoming speech and develop a press release to promote that event. They’re going to learn how to fix a paper-jammed printer and download  software. They’re going to see why they’re wearing mismatched socks and why we have to go to the grocery store at 4:00 when they’d rather be watching “Good Luck Charlie”.

I have to prove my point. They think I do nothing all day and that bothers me.  But it’s not their fault — somehow, I’ve given them the impression that I goof off and that’s why the house is a mess and dinner is thrown together. Recently, one of Maryn’s kindergarten friends asked about my job because I was dressed up at that particular moment.

“She works at night,” my daughter informed her.  Well, sort of.

But you see, work-at-home mothers have an image problem. Yesterday morning, Maryn asked if she could have some peaches, and I said yes.  She stood there…waiting.  “Can’t you get them?” I asked.  The containers were in the refrigerator on a low shelf and in plain view.

“I can’t pull the lid back because when I do, the juice spills all over.”  Get a paper towel and clean it up, I thought.  “So you want me to do it, right?”

Maryn started fidgeting.  “But you’re our mama and that’s how you take care of us.”

Uggh. Stabbed in the heart with a spork.  I am their mother. Yes, they’re at an age when they can get their own snacks, dump their clothes into the washer, fold their own shirts and put them away. But at what age do we, their parents, stop providing for them? When do we stop doing things around the house, job or no paying job, for our family? Is it a team effort? Sure. But as caregivers and providers, when do we step down from our household jobs?

As a Mother’s Day tribute, my girls filled out a questionnaire about me (it came in the kid’s meal activity pack from a fast-food restaurant…again). One section asked, “What does your mom say a lot?”

My daughters wrote:

  • “Just let me sit down for a minute.”
  • “I have to answer a few emails.”
  • “We have to go to the store.”
  • “Clean up this mess!”
  • “Holy crow!”
  • “Copper! Pim! STOP BARKING!”
  • “I don’t know when he’ll be home!”
They also wrote that I like basketball (no, I don’t), and my favorite book is “How to Kill a Mockingbird”.  While I appreciate “To Kill a Mockingbird”, it doesn’t rank at the very top of the list. They think my favorite hobby is playing tennis (I throw tennis balls for the dogs to chase, if that counts). They also wrote that my favorite food is bean salad.   Bean salad?!?

My daughters don’t know me very well. They see someone else…someone different. I’ve been “at home” for nearly a decade, spending every day with my kids in some way. We talk. We play. We     hug. But aside from being their mother, they don’t know much about Katy Brown.  And it’s time they see how motherhood works.

 

A mommy I want to be like

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
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I was recently asked if I am like my mother. There is an easy answer to that: I wish!

My mother is confident, organized, hard-working, tall…

I’m more rushed, less organized, much less put together, a lowly 5’8.

By the time she was 24, my mother was married, had me (the oldest of four) and had opened her own business. That business was our family’s mainstay over the next 20 years.

When I was 24…  *grasshoppers chirping*

My mother offers pretty big shoes to fill — literally, she has huge feet — but also figuratively. She raised three children on her own when my dad passed away. She later remarried and added another kiddo to the crew. And she did it all with perfect lipstick. Nothing frazzles her.

If times were tough, and I’m sure they were, we never knew. She somehow juggled kids in band, ball and her own business (in later years, two of them). I tried to be a working mother for one year and had to quit before I completely disintegrated.

I would like to think that since she is the mother that taught me everything I know, I’m something like her. In some ways I think I am. She’s pretty level-headed, I’m the same. There’s not a lot that shakes either of us. Family means a lot to her. Me too! Her generosity is immeasurable. I’m trying to work on that area.

But we’re also very different. Neither of us wrong, just different. I hold onto things, she gets rid of more stuff than Goodwill can hold. I am patient to a fault, she is stricter. She listens to country, but I’m working on that! There might be an Adele CD in her Mother’s Day stocking. (Mom, if you’re reading, make a Mother’s Day stocking.)

I feel bad sometimes because I really can’t come close to measuring up to her. I will never be as creative as she is. I’ll never be able to build a deck like she can do. Let me tell you, the lady knows how to operate a saw. I’ll never be able to keep my house as clean as she can keep hers. But she gives me a great pinnacle to reach.

She also has 25+ years of experience in the mommyhood. That’s a lifetime of wisdom away from where I am. I am so thankful to have her as a guide, the most amazing reference material anyone could need.

“Mom, do you think he’s too big? Too small?”

“Mom, I just found the grossest thing in his diaper, look and tell me what it is.”

“Mom, he keeps telling me no. What do I do?”

As I grow into my mommy shoes, I have faith that my mancub wont be a total mess. Afterall, my mom taught me everything I know and I turned out OK, I think…

I love you Mom!

Motherless Day

Monday, May 2, 2011
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For me, the hardest part of parenting was not having my own mother when I became one.  I lost her to lung cancer 10 years ago, and I still think of her several times a day.  It’s a type of grief that I don’t want rid of — if that makes sense — because it forces me to take better care of myself. Heaven knows (and after months of blogs, you know, too) that I don’t want to leave my children one second sooner than necessary.

The odd thing is that I haven’t quite shifted my thoughts when it comes to Mother’s Day.  I think of her, not myself, as a mother deserving of cards, flowers and lunch at The Greenbrier. Even though I have two daughters of my own, the occasion is still reserved in my heart for her…and it’s actually sadder than the day she died.

I’ve read a lot about “orphaned adults” and the milestone moments that our loved ones miss when they pass away early in our lives. John Lennon lost his mother when he was 17.  Shelby Lynne also lost her mother at the same age. Madonna lost her mother to cancer when she was five. Paul McCartney’s mother died when he was 14. Ellen Pompeo’s mother died when she was four. In the book, “Good Grief, It’s Mother’s Day,” Peppermint Patty tells Charlie Brown that she bought a Mother’s Day card for her father, since he has to be mom as well as dad.

I don’t attend pity parties often – only for extremely good friends – and I don’t stay long.  I’m a happy person and I love to laugh, which is why I miss talking to my mother so much.  I want to pick up the phone to tell her about the crazy things that have happened, such as the time I spiked brownies with spinach to make the girls eat vegetables.  Or, the trip to Snowshoe that made both girls car sick, and we had to drive from Marlinton to the Village in 30-degree weather…with all four windows down.  I wanted to tell her about giving my first born grape Kool-Aid for the first time, and then fearing she was dying the next morning when I changed her Pull-Up. And, of course, having to bind my chest with an Ace bandage when I switched to formula for my daughter’s feedings.  Every time I tried to wrap myself, the little clips would fly off and I’d spend 20 minutes looking for them on the floor.

While I’m sure she got a kick out of all this anyway, I still needed to hear her giggle and say, “Honey, I know. I’ve been there.”   Looking down from up above, I’m sure she was there for all of those zany moments of motherhood, particularly the early days, when I had no idea what I was doing.  But, now that my children are older and I’m experiencing an entirely new set of challenges, I still call on her for a little help.  It’s during these moments, though, that I want her to hear me say, “Now I understand.”

Happy Mother’s Day to all of us…everywhere.

It’s the little things

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
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I love this girl.

Judging by all the commercials I’ve seen on TV for flowers and brunch specials and sappy Hallmark cards, Mother’s Day must be around the corner.

  Despite this being my fifth year as a mother, the holiday isn’t really on my radar. My daughter is too little to make me breakfast in bed or bring me flowers. It was my husband who made me feel special on Mother’s Day. Even when I was pregnant, he gave me a great gift: a day at my favorite spa for some prenatal pampering.

  A lot of holidays have gone by the wayside since his death.

  So instead of making a big fuss, this year the joy of being a mom comes from the little things. It’s something I learned during the two years of my husband’s illness: The small moments in life are the ones that matter.

  Like the other day, Julia and I were listening to music in the kitchen while I was making dinner. One of my favorite songs came on and we started dancing. Right there in the kitchen. But it gets better. My 4-year-old started singing some of the lyrics. How cool is that?

  And a few weeks ago, when I was in the throes of spring cleaning, I wasn’t getting much help from my small person. In fact, she was making more messes. I was annoyed and frustrated. But when it was all over, in her little voice, she said to me: Thank you for making my room look pretty. You are welcome to visit anytime.

  I’m pretty sure I melted into a tub of goo.

  Then there’s the time last month when she crept into my room in the middle of the night. She wanted to sleep with me. This never happens. That girl loves her own bed. And it’s actually a good thing for me too because no matter how big the bed, I spend the night curled up in the corner, hanging over the edge, with two feet in my back. But on this night, she snuggled right up to me, her warm little body next to mine, and held my hand. It was pure bliss.

  There’s bliss in other moments too, when I see that she’s actually “getting” the things I’m trying to teach her. When she offers a “thank you” without being prompted or when her preschool teacher tells me she helped another student. Or when we say our prayers at night. That’s the good stuff.

  Who needs a new pair of shoes or some shiny earrings?

 (Oh, but what I wouldn’t give for one morning of sleeping in until 9 …)