It’s officially Fall. It still feels warm, but the heat doesn’t have that same oppressiveness it did a couple of weeks ago. With Fall in the air, it makes me long for the smell and taste of roasted chestnuts. It was one of my mom’s favorite treats. I Skype’d with my dad the other day, and before I could share my thoughts with him, he told me how he had tried roasting chestnuts for the very first time earlier that day. We were both feeling nostalgic. He showed me the pan with the chestnuts still in it, and I was just incredulous that a man who never had to cook a meal for almost 4 decades was now driven to cook if only to remember better times. After he showed me his roasted chestnuts, he sampled one only to discover waiting 6 hours later can really turn those nuts into rocks. He didn’t care. I don’t think I would have either.
My mom was generous with her cooking, money and discipline. That was her legacy. These are the ways I find myself missing her the most. Now that I am a mom, I appreciate how much she did love me through her toughness. She used to tell me how as a parent, punishing your child hurts the parents so much more than it hurt the child. I remember telling her to not be so tough on herself. The other day, Chase forgot a piece of his homework at school again. I am really working hard with him about being organized amongst other things. The last time he did this, we managed to get through it by finding a classmate who lived close by and troubling them for copies of the homework. This time, I wasn’t going to do it. I told Chase that it was really sad that he had forgotten his homework at school. I also told him this meant he would have to get up extra early, not have a big breakfast like we normally do, and take the train to school to get there when the doors opened so he could find the missing page and complete the homework before school started. He was so upset. I saw his eyes getting watery and he begged me to just let him take the bus. I stood firm but honestly, I was torn up inside. My mom was right. It is hard to watch your kids suffer, especially at your own hands, but in my heart, I felt like I just needed to draw a line.
After school the next day, I asked him how things went. He said he never wanted to go to school early on the train again. I asked him why and he said the train was full of freaks and drunk people.
Inside, I breathed a sigh of relief for both of us. The irony is, I know if my mom knew what I did to “her grandson” she would undoubtedly have given me a good tongue-lashing. Deep down inside though, she would have understood. I gave Chase a big hug and told him how sad I was for him to have to do that too… then, I gave him a warm roasted chestnut, fresh from the oven.
Be strong moms.
Until next time…