Happy Mother’s Day

Breakfast in bed has always been a thing in my family. I’m not sure how it started, but for birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, breakfast in bed was often how the festivities started. For better or worse.

When my sister and I were little and my brothers too young to be out of their cribs, we decided we would handle Mother’s Day breakfast on our own. I don’t remember exactly how old we were, but it must’ve been pretty young, because we didn’t have any concept whatsoever of how early was too early. My dad walked in on us trying to spread cold butter on cold bagels in the complete dark and told us to please go back to bed, it was four in the morning, for Pete’s sake.

When I could drive to the store for ingredients and we kids had our own money, it got a little better. Once upon a time, I wasn’t a total hazard in the kitchen, and I remember us whipping up some kind of triple berry crisp that went over pretty well. There was usually a fair amount of hissing and bickering between Coryn and I, and Liam usually rolled out of bed just in time to carry the coffee.

Last year, I made it to my parents’ house early enough to bring a few ingredients, but Liam and Coryn had planned an ambitious crepe breakfast and did the cooking. Watching Liam, who up until last year could barely pour himself a bowl of cereal, flip crepes was kind of surreal. One of those moments that really made me aware of how old and dusty I was.

No matter what we made, though, Mom always acted like it couldn’t have been any better. If there wasn’t enough cream in the coffee, if the eggs were dry, if we kids had been squabbling right up until we opened the bedroom door, she made it seem like it was exactly what she wanted.

Somehow, though, she usually still ended up making us breakfast. She’d say something like “I just want to make a couple more eggs for myself” or “I’ll just make one more pancake,” but she’d make them for all of us. When I moved out and came back for visits, no matter what the occasion, Mom was always ready to make us something. After we adopted Nelson, that included him.

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“Grandma will drop something for me. I know she will.”

My mom took to her role as dog grandma with dedicated enthusiasm. When we were going through the adoption process, I think she stressed about it almost as much as I did. When we finalized the adoption, she was just as excited as I was. When we Skype, she always makes a point to say hi to the dogs and will usually say, at least once, “He looks like he misses his grandma!”

In classic grandma fashion, she does her best to spoil Nelson while I’m not looking. He is, of course, always excited to see her, and even though she’ll do what I ask and ignore him until he’s sitting politely, it looks like it’s killing her. Once, she called me from PetSmart to ask me about treats. I heard someone in the background ask her something, to which she replied, “No thank you, I’m just asking my daughter about something for my granddog.”

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My mom isn’t the only dedicated dog grandma out there, but it’s important to me because, before we adopted Nelson, she had a few commonly-held (but wrong) beliefs about pit bulls. She certainly wasn’t ardently committed to those myths, but I sensed a general unease about whether or not even a “good” pit bull could be trusted. That all changed when she met Nelson, of course, but I didn’t realize how much it had changed until she called me this week.

“There’s a stray dog who I’ve seen around here a few times,” she said. “He’ll come up to us when we’re walking or biking, but he won’t let me catch him. The neighbor said he’s been around for two years and nobody’s been able to catch him. Do you have any suggestions?”

I was a little surprised to begin with, because loose dogs on our walking route used to send Mom running for the hills. I didn’t have many suggestions, but she was still able to get close enough to snap a decent photo. I was really surprised to see a meaty pit bull with a cinder block for a head cross my screen. My knee-jerk reaction would have been to be wary of this dog, but not my mom. Not anymore.

I should mention, of course, that this dog is hanging around their new house in Florida. My parents have lived in Western New York almost their entire lives, certainly my entire life, but last year they picked up and moved to the Jacksonville area. They’ve been there since August, but not being a part of Mother’s Day breakfast in bed is really driving home just how far away they are now.

As I mentioned in a previous post, parents put up with a lot of crap that I wouldn’t want to deal with. My mom is no exception, except maybe in that she probably dealt with more than her fair share of it. Kids put up with some crap too, but today, it’s hard to remember any of that. Today, I would just like to be there to help make breakfast and give Mom a hug and a card, but I will settle for a Skype session and this blog post, instead.

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