Being pregnant also brings up not having my mom here and how I wish I could share this journey with her. I know her spirit surrounds me daily but there is nothing like having someone's physical presence in your life.
The other day I was thinking about what I have learned from my mom and what has made me grateful that she was my mom. I learned to be a strong independent woman which can be a curse and a blessing. She taught me the joy of laughter and gave me my quirky sense of humor. My mom taught me a lot about caring for others. She was a nurse and cared deeply for her patients and fellow coworkers. I saw her attend to children with a host of ailments and elderly individuals. My mom always brought lots of laughter and heart to her work.
My mom loved spending time with all her children and was great at advocating for our needs. She pushed for special accommodations for my brother who has Down's to be in a regular classroom and speech services. She enjoyed supporting my sister at her swim meets and tried her best to be at as many as she could. I found out after she died that she was taking money out of her 401k so we could go to New York so I could check out NYU. She was willing to sacrifice for us.
Of course, not everything my mom did was magical. There are things that I see now that hindered me. These things used to be so hard to admit because when you lose someone all you want to reflect on is their good qualities. I couldn't even approach the challenging qualities she had for a while. Now I can see them and know that she was doing the best she could at the time. I was put in the parent role a lot, she used me as a confidant to talk about my dad and she sometimes made me feel like I was prude because I was forced into being an adult before it was my time. It is terrifying to put these out in the world because I don't want the reflection of my mom to be these. These are the qualities that I want to try to steer clear of with this little man I'm bringing into the world. I know I won't be perfect but I'll be aware.
Sometimes I think about what I would say to my mom if I had her here for one day. That is impossible to know but I know that I would just be present and enjoy every minute of it. I figure she knows who I am and all that I am so it would just be a day of bliss; enjoying her essence.
I've written her letters in the past to connect with her and sometimes talk to her. I know that she is around me. I do hate that I will have to tell my son what she always told me about her dad. "He would of loved you." I never wanted to have to tell my children that. I really wanted them to know you. I felt like I was just getting to know you myself.
I wish I could share this experience with you. Hear your wisdom of becoming a mom and your excitement when you found out we were having a baby. I guess soon I will know the deep love you had for us. I thank you for being my mom. I wouldn't have asked for anyone else to be my mom. I thank you for doing things different. You married my dad after I was born, you gave birth to me at home, you moved from the Ohio and Texas to California and you lived to laugh.
One of my fondest memories of you is when my uncle bought me a huge blow up penguin. It was probably as big as me. You came to pick me up from school in your red jeep with my sister and that giant penguin in the back seat. I wanted to hide from embarrassment as I saw you guys driving up. I got in the car as quickly as possible. I wanted you to speed away to prevent too many people from seeing me, you, my sister and a huge penguin in your jeep. You and my sister were laughing hysterically. I can enjoy this memory now that I'm not a high schooler.
Sometimes when I think I'm doing things "wrong" or not the way the world says I should; I remember you. It is okay to be different, to do life differently. That is definitely something I want to instill in my son because of you. Also, I remember you inviting your coworkers to holidays and I didn't always like it at the time. I remember your coworker from Africa and he was so kind and generous. He also was gracious to come over after you died to bring us food and tell us how much he loved you. I want to instill that kindness, love, generosity and openness in my son. I may not have you on this earth but I get to pass you on.
It still sometimes makes me sad. This weekend it will be sixteen years since you were hit by a drunk driver. Sometimes I forget the day is coming but there is usually emotions around that time even if I am not aware. I thank you for being my mom. Know you are thought about often and there is still a desire to have you here.
Now onto the recipe for this post. It is a simple recipe with avocado, beets and sprouts on delicious sourdough bread. It reminds me that life is simple. We all want a big house, lots of gadgets, artwork and things but what really matters is the time we spend with one another. This is a gift I have learned from losing my mom so young. I don't need to buy my son a lot of things but spending time with him making memories is the greatest gift.
Beet Avocado Toast
One thing I love about eating is, it is a great way to connect with others and even ourselves. So many times we are so busy just waiting to move on to the next thing or seeing what everyone is doing on social media that we forget to be present. Sitting down to eat can be an opportunity to enjoy someone's presence because ultimately we never know how long we get.
Ingredients: (4 servings)
4 slices of sourdough bread
1 teaspoon of olive oil + more for drizzling on top
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest & 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 beet, peeled
1/2 cup of vinegar
1/2 cup of sunflower sprouts
Salt and pepper
1. Place the beet in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Let cool and slice thinly. (I used a mandoline to get nice thin slices but you can slice them with a knife too). Once sliced put in a bowl and cover with the vinegar to marinate while you fix the rest of the ingredients.
2. Cut up the avocado into chunks and place in a bowl. Mash then add minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and a 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of olive oil (depends on your preference). Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Toast bread and roughly chop up the sunflower sprouts. (They should still be large chunks or you can also leave them whole).
4. Assemble the toast. Take the pieces of toast, spread with avocado mixture, layer beets on top, sprinkle with sunflower sprouts, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Enjoy!
In honor of my mom I wish you lots of love, laughter and joy!