Tonight I was wearing a nice dress and needed to get supper made right away and no time to change clothes, so I decided to grab an apron. I know not many people wear them anymore but my grandma and mom always did and I like to every now and then it reminds me of them and they great times we had in my grandma’s kitchen.
The apron I grabbed is my absolute favorite it’s the last one my mom had sewn for me many years ago, it slips over my head so I don’t have to tie it and she used a vintage fabric I love. When I put this apron on my mind always goes to my mom. I just had my kitchen remodeled and got to create my dream kitchen, I wish my mom could see it and cook with me one last time in this fabulous kitchen, she would be absolutely blissful.
I imagined she and I cooking some of her famous dishes, her amazing tostadas and sopapillas. I would say, “Mom try using coconut oil or grape seed oil for the tortillas and sopapillas”. “Ok Marsie-lark” she would say, she was always adventurous and willing to try new things. She would have a towel thrown over her shoulder, she would be humming a tune, and she would have her toes curled under except her big toe, a favorite pose. She would be giddy and laughing as she glided around the kitchen. She would use as many dishes, pots and pans and she pleased. Mom never worried about the clean up, it was all about doing it right, at that moment, no need to worry about later. Very often I serve food from the pots I cook in, no need to dirty another dish to have to clean up later. Mom would have none of that, it was all about presentation. She always made everything look and taste beautiful.
Mom was my greatest cheerleader growing up and is the reason I finished college and went on for my masters degree. When I put this apron on, I feel her love and support surround me and she feels within walking distance. My mom died in 2006 from breast cancer, I wish I could say we were close when she died, we were not, I did the things I felt obligated to do to help her, but we did not have the closeness we used to, a distance had come between us. My mom had some struggles unrelated to her cancer that I did not understand and my response was to distance myself. When she was diagnosed with cancer I did what I thought was best for her to help her, I realize now some of the things I did were helpful, some were not. I am always fascinated by people who say they have no regrets, I have several regrets, one is how I treated my mom her last year of life. It took me a long time but I have forgiven myself for how I treated my mom and it has taught me a valuable lesson in relationships and compassion.
So when I wrap myself in my favorite apron, I remember mom and her life lesson in compassion. And in place of regret I carry her love and compassion in my heart every day.
The woman who bore me is no longer alive, but I seem to be her daughter in increasingly profound ways. ~Johnnetta Betsch Cole