In honor of my mom, I’d like to share some of my favorite memories of her from when I was growing up.
Food! She made the most awesome cakes for my and my sister’s birthdays when we were little. There were books with pictures of fun cakes we could pick from, and I don’t think she ever said no to any of them. I remember: a yellow schoolbus, a little cottage, a monster? or something covered with red coconut fur, a clown, a racetrack, a lion. Since Jael and I weren’t supposed to eat artificial colors & flavors, she made us special candy for our easter baskets – my favorite were these raspberry coconut eggs, man those were delicious. At christmas she made candy-cane shaped peppermint cookies we hung on the tree. My favorite food memory is probably thanksgiving though – we were vegetarian and each year she made the most amaaazing gluten roast. She labored for hours at the sink, kneading, rinsing, kneading, rinsing. And when it came out of the oven – surrounded by potatoes, onions, and carrots and drenched in a peanut-buttery tamari sauce – it was juicy, chewy and tender, not all rubbery like store-bought gluten. The most delicious thing I will ever put in my mouth ever! And oh, the special breakfasts she made on the weekends – coffee cake, orange-glazed sweet rolls, chocolate-chip pancakes, doughnuts from scratch! Holy cow. Ridiculous! Guess what else she did? Collected seaweed on the beach and made soup from it! It tasted disgusting, but is it not way cool that she did that?
Hand-made stuff! My mom’s incredibly creative, and over the years she’s made some truly amazing things for me. Halloween costumes, dresses, long stripey scarves with secret skulls knit into them, plush toys. I still have some of the stuffed animals she made: an adorable pink pig she knit or crocheted and then stuffed, a lace bunny with dried rose petals in it that smelled sooo good, and of course, Mr. Monster – one of my most cherished possessions. He’s amazing, here’s a kinda crappy picture:
Homeschooling! There are so many things I’m grateful for about the way I was raised, but the thing I still kind of can’t even believe I had the good fortune to experience is being home-schooled by my mom during my primary school years. Going to the beach to look at marine life in the tide pools, singing the continents song at the top of my lungs while picking out books from the library, using crushed up colored eggshells to create mosaics during art classes with one of my mom’s music students’ mothers (they traded art classes for music lessons), learning math with flash cards, bringing lunch to film screenings in the basement of the big library in Portland – one of these I remember really vividly, eating an eggplant parmesan sandwich from Amatos while watching some film about Robert Frost with lots of autumn leaves in it.
Music! My mom taught music lessons out of our house, mostly piano. She taught me piano and violin, and of course I mostly hated practicing. But she had this weekly group class all her students could come to, and it was sooo fun! We played music and musical games together, like throwing a bean-bag onto a big staff on the floor with bass and treble clefs on it that she made on canvas out of electrical tape to help us learn our notes.
Randomness! The tree sap lozenges she used to chew. The smell of her Bonne Bell lip balm. Her basket full of buttons that I loved to dig through. Best bed-time back tickles ever. Crawling into bed with her when I got scared so she could spoon me.