Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Good Parts

When I was growing up my mother ate the most disgusting things. Dry crusts from my sandwiches, burnt toast, the soggy last few inches of pizza slices that I always left behind. She ate the dark meat, gizzards even, broccoli stems and the dust of crushed chips left in the bottom of the bag. Hers were the broken crackers, the baked potatoes with the black spots in the middle. She'd peel an apple for me and eat the skins, which was horrifying, and then when I was done, she'd eat the fruit I'd left around the core. Something was wrong with her, I thought.

My mother dressed ugly too. She never got herself a decent looking pair of sneakers and her sweatpants were all faded. She still had some awful velour sweatshirts from the 70s and I'd pray she'd never show up at my school wearing one and if she did, God forbid, she'd probably be eating a burnt pizza crust and a peach pit.

My mother was so embarrassing.

This morning I finally got it. After eating my daughter's unwanted toast crusts and a plum skin for breakfast, we went shopping. I needed new shoes for a wedding we're attending this weekend. Except, once we got to the mall I realized that my feet aren't growing. It's just a party. No one's going to be looking at my feet. But the baby? She's nearly outgrown all of her shoes and will be in a new size soon. She needs new shoes more than I do.

I considered a new sundress, but do I really need one? No. My little one is going to be in a size 2T soon and I won't have a thing that'll fit her. I'll wait and spend the money on her.

When we got home, we had lunch. She ate the fluffy tops of the broccoli and I realized I'd learned to love the tough stems. I peeled her a peach and sucked all the flesh from the pit while she ate the good parts. I wanted a graham cracker but there were only two left, so I decided that I didn't really like graham crackers as much as I did when I was little anyway. Neither did my mom and that's why she always let me have the last ones in the package too.

When you're a mother, you don't mind giving up the good parts. I don't need a bunch of new stuff because I have all I need. I have my daughter and her happiness and I have a mother that I finally appreciate - a mother who once gave me all the good parts in hope that one day I'd grow up to be that kind of mom too.


From the Mind of a Madman said...

My mom always drank the last few sips of my beer...... which I didnt appreciate! haha
But nice post!

colenic said...

This was an amazing post. The sacrifices our parents make are something that can never be talked about too much...and you just expressed the circle beautifully.

skip 2 colorado said...

That was without a doubt, the loviest thing I've come across in a long while. Made me appreciate my mother, as well as my sons. Your daughter is very lucky.

Anonymous said...

You are a fabulous Mother and baby lawns is lucky to have you. I love you and I am very proud of the way you raise your baby.

Miss Kitty said...

Beautiful, WL. Just beautiful.

Head Ant said...

This is absolutely beautiful. You'll have to show it to BL one day!

Two words: consignment sale. There are a few bi-annual ones here. The one I went to is a national event--they might have one in your area. I was able to get four boy shirts, three pairs of shorts, three dresses, a pair of shoes, and two packs of books for a little under $40. And they were all in good condition; they won't take ratty items.

Steph in Tampa said...

What a sweet post.

So glad to see you back writing again. :)

K2 said...

Yes, parents give up a lot. You don't get to sleep in on a Saturday morning. You have to make sure someone else looks nice so you don't have as much time for your own appearance. Your free-time disappears. You surround yourself with other parents, often at the expense of your childless friends. You are forced to spend time with the family that you don't like. BUT, never forget that you are a person, too. Don't forget the cardinal rule to put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping someone else.

Once in awhile, it must be about you. It is easy to do without when they are little, but once it becomes a habit, then you begin to feel taken advantage of.

Take some cues from the men in your life. If your husband would give it up, so should you. If not, ask yourself why not. If the answer is "he needs it more than I do," then stop being a doormat. Make sure to keep a balance.

Restaurant Gal said...

Wonderful post.

Melanie said...

Beautifully said. This is why I keep coming back to this blog year after year.... and why I can't wait to buy your book when it comes out. You have a way of taking the deepest feelings that I have, and expressing them in a way that I could never do. And then, as if that wasn't enough talent for one person, you turn around and write a blog post that's screamingly funny. Wide Lawns, you're the best. Thank you!

English said...

That was beautiful.

Geniusofdespair said...

Did you know my mother? Sure sounded like her.

Maria de los Angeles said...

Ah, I love your writing.

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