OP/ED: On Mother's Day, fishcakes and pot
J.D. Salinger once said, “Mothers are all slightly insane.” … and I could not agree more. I mean, we have to be, in order to put up with all the chaos that raising children brings. It’s a 24-hour job that consists of playing the roles of chef, chauffeur, nurse, referee, janitor, therapist, and teacher all while demanding cat-like reflexes, the patience of a saint, and a really strong stomach. (Kids seem to ooze out of EVERY orifice!)
So yeah, excuse us if we sometimes get an eye-twitch or break out into maniacal laughter at any given moment. It’s how we get through the day. It’s either slight insanity or full-blown derangement; you pick which one you’d prefer. The best part, though, is that each mother seems to bring her own special kind of crazy to child-rearing. Her own unique flair, if you will. And each mother applies her own exclusive kind of absurdity to help mold her children into the functional, (therapy-seeking), well-rounded, and contributing members of society that they become. Bravo mothers!
Some moms have it tougher than others, as some children can be a tad more difficult. My mother was one of those women, as I tended to be a bit more ‘spirited’ than my runny-nosed counterparts. Oh, I wasn’t horrible or anything, but I definitely could have been an easier on her nerves, that’s for sure. But my mother never gave up on me; she just hunkered down with her own special blend of wacky and fought her way through it, loving me all the way. So it is with that in mind that I write this next column, an ode to my mother …
Now, my mother is an amazing person. She is generous, kind-hearted, honest, and has the cutest little red afro. She was forever letting me and my friends take over the house, often letting a few of them move in temporarily if they were having troubles at home. She put up with our bad music, unsavoury taste in boys, and raging hormones with the patience of Mother Teresa. Her door is always open (unless of course, it’s locked, in which case, just knock and she’ll come right down and open it for you).
But like all moms, she isn’t perfect, she has her flaws … and the two traits that I find most traumatizing are her cooking and gift-buying skills.
Seriously, it is a miracle of God that I survived up until the age of 10, when my step-father came on the scene. In fact, I think he may have been the result of some divine intervention. There was probably some kind soul sitting up on a cloud somewhere thinking, “Yikes, Fiona’s making the fishcakes again! That poor kid! Let’s send Fiona a Prince Charming, but make sure he can cook! I’m worried the little tyke won’t make it to 11.”
Ugh, the fishcakes! Just thinking about them sends chills up my spine. They were strange, smelly, little pink patties with unidentifiable green things speckled throughout. My uncle and I used to call the green things ‘greeblies’ and even my mother could never tell us what they were. (shudder)
But hey, it wasn’t all bad … she did make this no-bake cheesecake once that she found in newspaper recipe and her hamburgers weren’t half bad either (when they were thoroughly cooked). If it weren’t for those two items in her repertoire, I may not have made it here today!
Now, let’s talk gift-buying. I’m not trying mean here, I’m just speaking the facts, but my mother is certifiably the WORST gift-buyer on the face of the planet. It might have something to do with her Scottish/English heritage or maybe the fact that she was raised in Saskatchewan, I’m not sure, but it’s bad. She does great if you drag her into the store, put whatever item you want into her hand, push her up to the till, then run away and act all surprised when you open it. But, if you leave her to her own devices, you liable to get an already opened bottle of lotion that she picked up from a ‘Free’ bucket on the side of the road, a jar of tomato sauce that was on sale, or (and this one is the best) you might even get your own item that you had previously donated to the Sally Ann gifted back to you!
For real, all of those things have happened to me.
Picture it … it’s Christmas time, we are all opening our presents and my mom hands me a bulky gift wrapped in newspaper comics. Quite frankly, I was already nervous after opening the second-hand bottle of bubble bath that I got in my stocking but she looked so excited that I thought ‘Hmm, well you never know, maybe this one is actually good.’ So, I open it and find a well-used, battered cooking pot.
As I looked over my new kitchen tool, I couldn’t help but notice that it looked familiar. “I recognize this gouge. And, this rust spot looks … Mom, this is my pot! You bought me my own pot back?! I donated this to the Sally Ann just last month!”
“Oh!” she says innocently, “I thought it looked like it might match your set!”
(Before everyone jumps down my throat for being a jerk, I should say that I am a full supporter of being thrifty and shopping in second-hand stores. However, my mother is not impoverished and can afford to buy me an unopened NEW bottle of bubble bath. And spending more than $4.50 on a gift for her loving daughter certainly would not sink her.)
Needless to say, we all had a good laugh and now my mother is not allowed to shop for me … without me.
But despite her imperfections, I wouldn’t trade her for the world. In fact, I almost lost her two years ago and it made me realize how much I love that little lady. Wacky traits and all! And besides, it’s nothing we can’t work around. There are gift cards, and take-out, and frozen pizza.
So, go out this Mother’s Day and spoil your mama! After all, you wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for her and all of the crazy little quirks that make her special.
To my Mom, I love you. Thanks for everything you have done for me, you rock!
But just an F.Y.I. – there is no way in hell you’ll ever get me to eat those fishcakes again.
Happy Mother’s Day!