Mother’s Day and Strawberry Jam

Omelette and Croissant

Mother’s Day Breakfast, mixed media by Kerry McFall

Somehow Mother’s Day always makes me think of that elusive vision of breakfast in bed, which has never quite panned out according to the Hallmark Card fantasy.  You know, the one where smiling children deliver champagne, bacon, chocolates, flowers… to a well-rested Mom in a nice velour bathrobe… My husband’s twisted sense of humor led him to help the kids provide cold coffee and green jello in bed one Mother’s Day… as the Queen might say, “We were not amused.”

My solution this year was to go to The Patissier French Bakery this morning and buy my own breakfast a day early.  A buttery omelette filled with tender potatoes, topped with tomatoes, and a croissant on the side.  I ate half, and saved half and brought it home, so although I will not try to eat it in bed (always messy, especially with a cat lurking around the edges), I will be sure to have my menu of choice  tomorrow morning — and the coffee will be hot!

But even so, this year Mother’s Day feels quite strange for me.  My own mother has slipped away quite suddenly as Alzheimer’s has made its presence known.  Our relationship has for years been not easy, so I don’t really have a rosy haze of memories to mourn.  But it was difficult last weekend, looking into her freezer and realizing that I was seeing the last jar of Strawberry Freezer Jam she will ever make.  I brought it home and made a painting of it.  Funny how food, a simple glass jar of fruit and sugar, can come to symbolize something as complex as a human being, something as multi-faceted as the relationship between a parent and child.

I am a mother, and a daughter.  I have a daughter, and many near-daughters.  I have a goddaughter.  I am also a Wicked Stepmother, and a step-grandmother, and a Mother-in-Law.  Even with all those matriarchal titles, the kids are all scattered this year.  So after my breakfast, I will drive to the “Skilled Nursing Facility” and visit my own mother, wondering what to try to talk with her about.  Maybe we’ll talk about jam.  Or more likely, she’ll just sleep.

sketch of jam jar

The Last Jar, mixed media by Kerry McFall