Advice to Mothers Everywhere or “What would I do with a spice rack?”

by chuckofish

Every year thousands of school children make cute craft gifts for their mothers. Sometimes these gifts prove a challenge for the appreciative mom: is that clay object a giraffe or Obi Wan Kenobi wielding a light saber? A lop-sided hippo or a portrait of the family pet? Although my own boys are long past the school craft stage, I remember it fondly and, yes, with a little chagrin.  Let me explain. Long ago, during a dinner table conversation about what that year’s school craft would produce, someone mentioned spice racks. I responded “What would I do with a spice rack?” in that dismissive tone of voice that is peculiar to my bloodline (YOU know what I mean). During the stunned silence that followed, I realized with horror that I might actually receive such a gift, and if so, I had just crushed the soul of one of my boys. My attempts to recant were pretty lame and hilarity ensued; disaster averted, the story became part of our family lore.

Despite my jaded take on school crafts, those teachers sure worked hard to make Mother’s Day special. Back in the day, for example, my youngest son’s kindergarten class held a tea. Here we are arriving:

Tim and sarah 001

Each mom received a book that her child had made. Mine included this classic page:

Tim's kindergarten 001


It’s not exactly a flattering portrait, but you have to love the comments.  I can say with pride that while most of the other children estimated their young mothers to be in their late 40s or 50s, my son got it wrong in the best possible way. Even better, his “I love my mom because” statement far outdid those of the other kids, who said things like “because she feeds me” or “because she cleans my room”.  All the other moms were jealous of “the best mom in the universe”.

By (roughly) 2nd grade, Tim’s drawing had improved, but his food commentary was still just as baffling.

hamburger helper Tim 001

Now, we all know that I am not  exactly a gourmet cook, but really, I’ve only made Hamburger Helper maybe twice in my life. Really, I promise. Still, at least I’m smiling in this picture (and please note the interesting ancient Egyptian-style mixed perspective, where we see the table and tofu from the side, but the implements and wok from above).

Most of the other pages in his book depicted me grading papers, reading, writing, or just staring into space, but always sitting on the sofa — seeing that for the first time was an ‘Out of the mouths of babes’ moment for sure. Thus do we live and learn. Though I can’t say that it made me quit my job and become a soccer mom, I kind of wish that I had.

What special Mother’s Day memories do you have?