My mother (God rest her soul) was born on this day. How old would she ahve been had she lived? That’s a matter of some debate as the official records are in disagreement with each other. However there is no debate in my heart that she a was a great woman. Passionate and compassionate, deeply spiritual and religiously devoted, every bit a lady yet always ready to give you a piece of her mind, not learned by with a wisdom that is now guiding three generations of her offspring. She lives in my brother, my sister and me, but I see her most clearly in my sister (one of the many things that makes living with my sister a joy to me).
I woke up today with a story about her on my mind. It was my first visit home after coming out as trans to my family. One morning I was standing in the kitchen with my mom (me running my mouth about God only knows what). At one point she points to the stove, indicating a carton of eggs and a skillet.
“Fix your daddy and your brother some eggs,” she says in a matter-of-fact tone.
I go over to the stove and turn on the burner when it dawns on me that I’ve never done this before. I’d never made scrambled eggs for my dad and brother. In fact I’d never made scrambled eggs for anyone. However I have watched my mom do it more times than I can count. With that I plunged into the task.
I sprayed the skillet with some cooking oil and added some butter, glancing over to my mom to see it I was on the right track. She wasn’t even looking. I took the first egg and cracked it. I made a remarkable mess. She didn’t even look over at me.
“Gently,” she said. “You’re cracking an egg not breaking open a baseball (something I once tried as a child but that’s a different story).”
The second time was a success. As the eggs cooked we talked. Every now and again she would throw in a cooking instruction or two: “Hold the fork like this” and “lower the flame.”
It wasn’t until after breakfast was over that I realized what my mother was doing. She was creating a mother/daughter bonding moment.
This story captures so much of what I loved about my mother: her amazing emotional intelligence, her love of family, her faith in the power of small things, the depth of her compassion, her solid yet fluid wisdom and her ability to put together the complexities of psychology and theology and daily life.
A most remarkable woman and I miss her dearly.