Celebrating Mother’s Day has always been a regular event in my family, but this year offered extra cause to celebrate as Kristen prepares to join the ranks of motherly matrons in our clan. We were blessed with the opportunity to host both of our moms, as well as Kristen’s two grandmas, for a Mother’s Day dinner and a wonderful afternoon of family fellowship.
Mother’s Day also means I get an opportunity to cook for all of the women in our family — a task I really enjoy, but rarely get away with because everyone loves to cook so much. I prepared eight thick-cut, pan-fried pork chops steamed with red onions, squash, zucchini and asparagus. I topped the pork chops with asparagus, drizzled fresh hollandaise sauce over the vegetable-meat combo¹ and left the squash-zucchini-onion medley on the side. White rice and baked macaroni and cheese (which Kristen prepped before I could step in) rounded out the main course; Grandma Mayna brought a Hersey’s chocolate chocolate-chip cake for dessert.
A grand time was had by all.
After lunch, Kristen tried to teach our moms and grandmas a few new stitching patterns to incorporate into the quilt she is putting together for Samuel. I haven’t begun my own quilt square yet, but I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to bond with my brothers, Zachary and Jacob, as the three of us rarely end up in the same room together very often. We jumped head first into Resident Evil for some co-op light-gun action.
And no, those pictures were not posed; that’s just how intense my brother gets when the undead threaten to interfere with Mother’s Day.
Is there anything of greater import to a child than a mother who understands the struggles of life and gingerly guides her children down the path to adulthood? I don’t think so. Kristen and I were blessed with such mothers. It would be impossible to pick out what elements of our personalities, of our worldviews, of our lives, were impacted by our mothers. They deserve much more than a fun day and our heartfelt thanks, but I know that’s all they will accept.
I was reminded again about the critical role mothers play in shaping the perspectives of their children this afternoon while reading a short story. On this one particular street in this one particular village in South Africa lived a great diversity of people: a widowed concert pianists who had taught nobility in London; a retired colonel who had spent his life laying down roots in a multitude of countries across the globe; a few native Afrikaans; two families of American missionaries and a plethora of other expatriates from Germany, Sweden and Portugal. The children living on Kruger Park Street, as is typically the case with children everywhere, didn’t let their varied backgrounds stand between them. Gathering in the street for games and adventure became a regular afternoon ritual. On this day, the children’s game turned out to be knocking on doors, then hiding before the targeted neighbor could get to the door. The children took turns pranking different neighbors as the crowd looked on from a safe distance. As it would happen, one child’s mother found out about the game and was less than pleased. This child was forced to walk back to the house of the old colonel who she had pranked an hour earlier to confess her sin and beg apology. The worst part of the ordeal was that the other children, though equally responsible, seemed to get by unscathed. Still, at least one mother is intent on using the situation to teach her own child a lesson. The apology is offered.
“Very well. Your apology is accepted,” the colonel replied. “And you may thank your mother for caring enough about you to discipline you.” ²
1. To give credit where credit is due, Zachary did help cut zucchini and mix up the ingredients for my hollandaise recipe.
2. Patricia Coble, “Legogote: Tales from the Bottom Township,” (Bloomington, Ind.: Wordclay) 2008. 1-11.