It is, as I am writing this, Mother’s Day. It’s been a long time, at least when I wrote this, since I’d written anything, let alone something to mark this day. It’s … never been an easy day for me, of late it has become that much more difficult. But there’s something to remember on this day, and that is …
Our Mother’s Love
The book was well worn. The cover was a bit frayed: a tear in one corner, the image of various edible delights printed there, a little faded from time. The spine had a crease in it, marking a particularly favourite creation referred to many a time before.
Hands opened the book, watching the pages leaf to that particular spot, the words on the one side telling of the ways and means to the creation that appeared in full colour on the opposite side. A slim finger drew itself across the page, double checking that she had everything needed; it was, after all, a favourite recipe. Perhaps not the most complicated of things to create, but even though she could have recited the ingredients, the steps, the baking time, and how to serve the delight. It was important to not leave anything out. She remembered running into the kitchen, peering over the edge of the countertop, sneaking a bit of the batter, and giving an innocent smile.
She missed those days.
A calloused hand drew itself over another page in another book of memories. He recalled the joys she had in creating that dessert, the smile when she watched the delight from others in tasting her creation. It was a tradition, in a way. Birthdays, family gatherings, whatever the reason was: it didn’t need to be much more than her being there. The handwriting was a bit faded, little notes stuck to the ruled lines noting a change here, an option there. She’d never been content with good enough; there was always room for improvement.
He missed those days.
A pair of eyes scanned a bookcase, one shelf holding his thoughts and memories. It was … too soon. It felt wrong, somehow, to touch her recipes. There was a feeling of not quite being able to see the words, remember the joys she’d brought to so many. He could still see her in the kitchen, smell the latest bit of wonder in the oven that her hands created. Then one book caught his eye, and his hand touched the spine.
He missed those days.
It took as long as it was meant to; she didn’t rush through the steps. Things were to be done in a certain way and that’s how it was. The kitchen was a bit of a mess, but that was part of the recipe as well. She popped the mixture into the oven and settled in to wait, flipping idly through the book that had led her through the steps and the memories.
There was no rushing for him either, though this recipe would take longer than hers would. He didn’t mind that; the mixture had to set, the bottom layer needed time to cool after the oven had finished with it. The time allowed him to trace over her handwriting once more and smile softly at the moments remembered.
It took a while, to be honest. It’s hard to read with tears in your eyes. Every word came with its memories. He found that the ingredients were still in the pantry: the mixer in its place, the cookie sheet shimmied into its storage spot when he opened the door looking for it. The recipe was there, if he needed it, but he found the memories guiding his hands, adjusting a pinch here or there as needed. He stumbled on occasion—at least in his thoughts he did—and wasn’t quite sure everything was as she would have done it when the baking sheet slid into the oven. Not content to wait, he busied himself with cleaning up the kitchen; she would not have been pleased with the mess, after all. He did manage a smile at that memory.
The cupcakes were done, a small pile of them placed upon the cream-coloured serving plate. Oh, there could be icing, of course, but this was how they were meant to be. Angel food cake with chunks of chocolate within; possibly the simplest of her creations, but it felt right.
The cheesecake was done, the springform removed, positioned on the cake plate she’d had for longer than he could remember. Strawberry sauce in a serving boat to the side, the cutting knife soaking in hot water before the cutting would commence. She’d always made sure of the presentation, and so he did, too.
The smells filled the kitchen now, accompanying him as he finished putting the last bowl into the dishwasher. They were a comfort, in a way, a reminder of how things were: the love, so many good things she’d done for others. The bell sounded, telling that it was time. The sheet came out, was set on top of the stove to cool for a bit. He knew exactly where the cookie jar was; it had waited patiently for him. One by one the sheet was emptied, the cookies in their place, and he found himself with a smile, knowing she’d be pleased.
Three souls, on this day, remembered their mothers, their love, and the connection of the family they were. The comfort of their memories, reminding them that a mother’s love was for always, especially on this day.