Only after becoming a mother myself did I realize that combining motherhood and work is … well, challenging. I mean, both can be pretty challenging on their own but when you combine them, it is a job requiring superpowers. Yet my mother always managed to do even more than that. When I was in middle school, next to her full time job, she studied theater criticism. Later she took German lessons and English lessons and a course in management. Yet she also helped me with homework when I asked and went to the theatre and cinema often. She even had a pretty busy social life.
Most incomprehensibly though, we also had a home cooked meal almost every day and usually it was a soup and a main course. (Maybe time used to be inflatable or her generation made a better use of it or they were just so much more hard-working? Or is the internet just eating up our time these days?)
My mom is the kind of cook who can make a good meal from any odds and ends. She never throws anything away, she’ll keep the water from boiling potatoes to make a soup the next day. She uses lots of fresh herbs to finish her dishes. She loves garlic and uses lots of it. I still remember one summer when we were at my parents’ holiday cottage and an unexpected visit showed up. Though the pantry was as good as empty, my mom took all the leftover pieces of cheese and bread and the like, sliced them thinly, arranged them prettily on a cutting board and served them with flair.
Because I live almost 800 km away from my parents, I can’t bring my mom a bouquet or invite her over for brunch. And when I see her next time, it will probably be in the summer vacation at my parents’ house and she will insist of taking care of me instead of letting me to do something for her. The rose in the picture is called “William Shakespeare” and I gave it to my theater loving mom several years ago for her birthday. The rose died in the sever winter of 2012/2013. This year I want to get her a new (hardier) rose and plant it in my parents’ garden as a tangible proof of my appreciation for her love and cooking and all the rest in the past 38 years that she’s been my mom. I know I’m lucky.
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