Saturday, October 1, 2011

On meatloaf. And my mom.

When I was 13 I lived with my parents and 3 younger siblings in a house in the country. {Reference here to "the mouse house" will make sense to my siblings.} I don't remember being responsible for a lot of chores other than doing the dishes with my sister, Valerie, and folding laundry. Our basic responsibility after school everyday was simply to not kill each other before Mom came home from work around 5:30 each day.

Except for the first Tuesday of every month.

I belonged to a girls club that met in the evening on the first Tuesday of every month. What this meant to my mom was that dinner needed to be prepared ahead of time and on the table before she took me into town for my meeting. As a result, I became the once-a-month meatloaf maker. And I complained about it every step of the way.

I hated making meatloaf. The ground beef was squishy and hard to wash off if I got it on my hands. I wasn't great at cracking eggs {although, come to think of it, I didn't mind that part if Val and I were making cookie dough...}, and besides, it just wasn't fair. Just because I was the oldest I had to make meatloaf. That wasn't fair at all. And Ronnie and Timmy never had to do anything. And why on my girl's-club-meeting night did I always have to make meatloaf?!?!?  Ugh! Totally not fair.

Now, thirty-seven years later, I am faced with the fact that my mom has a terminal disease. Lately I find myself reminiscing about her parenting methods - the things she taught me that made me who I am today. I don't remember specific things or words of wisdom from my mom, but when I think about memories like making meatloaf I am struck by the underlying lessons and values she instilled.

How fortunate I have been to have a mom who knew the importance of family meal times together, even on evenings when we would be rushed to do so. And how very fortunate am I that she taught me the value of making a contribution, of preparing a meal for my family to enjoy, and for teaching me how to make a really good meatloaf.
(photo from Carrie's phone)

My meatloaf recipe has changed over the years, and Doug and Carrie love it. As for me? Meatloaf is still not one of my favorite things to make, but I do it for my family - for the joy it brings as we sit and enjoy a meal together as a family. And for the memory that it conjures up and connects me to my mom - a connection that will be always be with me, even when she's not.

Linking to Sian's "Storytelling Sunday"

27 comments:

Karen said...

Thinking of you and praying for Marti I have dug out my teal band and will be wearing it again for a while.

Lizzie said...

Hi Deb, I've been wondering how Marti is - especially since your Facebook note the other day. Give her my love please and tell her to remember we are thinking of her. And please remember we're thinking of you, Carrie, Doug and your brothers and sister too. Cancer is a thief. It steals health and strength. If you let it it can steal happiness and peace too. Don't let it do that to you and your family... But it can never steal your precious memories - even the meatloaf ones!
Thinking of you and keeping you all in my prayers. Xxx

Lynn said...

Its funny how when we look back on things from a different perspective it brings a different meaning. Keep hold of these memories.

debs14 said...

Deb, I loved this post! I can remember exactly that 'It's SO not fair' young girl feeling. These are the kinds of memories that will stay with you forever and I bet every time you make meatloaf you think of growing up in such a close and loving family (even if your brothers got away with doing NOTHING!)
I guessed from FB that maybe there have been some turns in your mum's condition and you are often in my thoughts. Such a terrible time for you all to be going through, and I only know, because I've been there too. Keep writing down those memories, they will make a great scrapbook for the future!

Ruth said...

FUnny how we remember our brothers not having to do anything at home!
I'm sending you all much love today. I'm thinking of you. xx

Jane said...

I always think my older sisters did nothing! Hold on to your precious memories xx

Sian said...

I'm off to put on my wristband again as soon as I've finished typing this..sorry, I'm not much of a Facebooker.

A lovely post to hold onto Deb. We had to do a lot when we were young because of my mum's MS, as a teenager I did all the ironing, hoovering and shopping at the weekend before starting my homework. But it sure did give me an appreciation of what it takes to run a home

Barbara Eads said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mom, but very glad that you have such great stories to share.

Miriam said...

I am sending love & prayers Deb. I have been to both those places. So much to say and yet I think a prayer will say it all. x

scrappyjacky said...

I always thought my brothers did far less than me....actually I still think that!!!
And Lizzie is right....nothing can steal those precious memories....hold on to them.

Gail said...

It's amazing isn't it how our perception of things change as we get older. Treasure your memories. Keeping your Mum, you and your family in my thoughts.

Maria Ontiveros said...

Deb,
What lovely, poignant post. I keep my teal wristband on my bedside table, and I have just slipped it back on in support of you, Carrie and your mom.
I cooked for our family a lot. The one go-to meal I had was a hamburger, elbow macaroni, Ragu and cheese casserole. I shudder now when I think of it!
Rinda

angelfish (fiona) said...

What wonderful memories of growing up in a loving family.

Mom said...

Never have I cried over meatloaf--until this morning. I love you so much. xoxo

humel said...

This is such a beautiful post, Deb, and it's brought tears to my eyes too. Sending you all much love and many prayers xx

Ginger said...

I enjoyed reading your touching story, but I'm sorry to read of your mom's change in health. Take care.

furrypig said...

Gosh Deb, that is an amazing post, so glad you still cook meatloaf!! I am keeping you, your family and Marti very much in my thoughts at the moment. My dad starts chemotherapy this week so facing some of the same issues over here too. Sending hugs xxxx

Sandie said...

That's a very thoughtful provoking post, Deb. Thinking of you & your Mum, that's a lovely memory to hold on to.

Carrie Rosalind said...

LOVE this post. I love your meatloaf and I'm happy that Grandma made you make it all the time because you perfected it! :) Can't wait for you to make it again!!

Ifa said...

Hurrah for family traditions and glad to hear you are keepinging it going.

Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita said...

Deb, somehow, our moms teach us even when we don't want to learn. I'll be keeping all of you in our prayers and hearts as you deal with this terrible illness. And remember, everyone who lives in our hearts, lives forever. love ya Deb!

Valerie said...

OMG I LOVE this post!!!! I am going to make a meatloaf tonight in honor of MOM!!! You are so good and expressing yourself and telling stories! LOVE YOU!!!

Beverly said...

Deb, I am with you on how gross raw hamburger makes your hands feel...yuck. I make a bacon cheeseburger meatloaf that I actually like (have always hated it) ZSo sorry to read that your Mom is not doing well. My prayers are with all of you.

Alison said...

Love and prayers with you and your family Deb....memories are SO important- that's why scrapbooking is so important to me!
Alison xx

Karen said...

My prayers are still with you and your mom, Deb! I don't read Facebook, but it sounds like things aren't going very well. I'm so sorry, and hope they improve.

Becky said...

Hi Deb - I remember that 'it's not fair' feeling as I was the oldest too! I keep my teal band on my workdesk and look at it every day and think of your mum - sending my love and prayers to you all.

Jimjams said...

A very touching story Deb - food is often evocative from its taste or smell - your meatloaf has a whole new layer of memories bound up in it as well. Your Mum did well to raise a dutiful daughter (along with a whole bunch of siblings) and it's wonderful that you have the time to reflect on things with her. Thinking of you both ♥

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