My First Memory: My Mom, a Tornado and a Pie Crust
If I scan my memories back as far as I can remember, my first memory comes glaring into view. I am small, just one year old. I live with my parents, and we're at my grandma's house with my aunt, whom I'm content following around and being entertained by, such is the role of the youngest aunt. My mom is sitting in the kitchen struggling with a pie crust.
In the game of life there are those things we enjoy and the things we have to do, and cooking happens to fall under "things I have to do" for my mom. This is only the very first instance of ways we are different, and the list that follows is lengthy. Still, though, there are many others that are very much the same. I just don't like to talk about them. (Incidentally, one of the ways we are different is that I am sarcastic to a fault. My mom? Yeah, she doesn't get the joke.)
It should come as no surprise that my first memory involves food given my career choice. Food has always played a major part in my life, dotting my childhood and adolescence until the majority of my memories center directly around food, lack of food, desire for food. The first pictures in my head, naturally, would involve food and the woman who birthed me and how much she hated cooking, the very thing I would focus on for the rest of my life. My love for food was innate and driven more by my grandmother's apron strings.
As I played on the kitchen floor and my mother became excited when she rolled her pie crust dough and everything seemed to be holding together, the tornado sirens started to go off. My mother, rather than risk another failed pie crust, was not to be deterred. She pressed on, rolling the dough and directing my aunt to the basement with me.
As the sirens blare, I can see my mom upstairs in the kitchen, wondering why she isn't coming downstairs as her sister is calling to her, and I remember climbing back up to watch her finish her pie crust, sitting on the top step and being captivated with the kitchen and energized by the impending storm that was swirling outside. Today remains the same. The kitchen is still the place I choose to find peace and calm, and tornadoes and the destruction they cause just fascinate with awe and respect for things which we are not in control.
My mom's cooking? Well, she taught me how to make a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies, and she cooked every day of my childhood, while quite possibly loathing every minute of browning hamburger for each and every weekly tater tot hotdish she baked, and yet there she was, cooking. And while this may not be a passion we share as mother and daughter, she did teach me the importance of eating real, healthy foods (even when you would rather be designing elaborate flower beds, reading novels or crocheting comfy afghans).
For those reasons, I hope that my children's first memories will be like mine, involving the kitchen with me in it, providing that piece of the life skills puzzle for them, regardless of what their passion ends up being.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.