For the past five years, I’ve tried to forget Mother’s Day by staying away from the places where mothers and daughters celebrate. I don’t need Mother’s Day to miss my mother. But Mother’s Day always hits me hard. I miss our traditional “ladies’ lunch,” afternoon at an art gallery, strolls through blossoming public gardens and shopping for spring clothes.
Even as my mom became ill, we still did all these things on Mother’s Day. First we did them with her walker. Then, we continued with her wheelchair.
In the final years of her life, my mother lived with a feeding tube. That’s because eating most food caused her to choke or aspirate. But that didn’t stop her from from wanting a meal with family, including her wonderful caregivers, at a favorite restaurant. No matter how frail she got, Mom never lost her desire for these outings. She loved a good time!
Along the way, we discovered one food that my mom could enjoy despite her condition — cheesecake. Plain cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, cheesecake with blueberries — they all “slid down” without even a cough.
During our lunches or dinners, Mom would smile and laugh as we told stories designed to entertain and amuse her. As much as she loved us, though, her big payoff was always the cheesecake. When she could no longer easily feed herself, we would help her. At times, though, our speed of feeding could not keep pace with her desire for cheesecake. “Shovel it in, shovel it in,” she would exclaim!
Life changed with my mom’s illness. And so did our notion of our family dinners. Family dinner could take place gathered around her recliner or even her bedside. Cheesecake could become a meal.
On this Mother’s Day, I remember fondly our “perfect” family dinners over the years. But I most relish the moments of pure joy with mom and cheesecake.
Happy Mother’s Day to all!