Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lumpy Frosting Memories

I sat at the kitchen table with my mother.  We chatted as I made graham cracker sandwiches to enjoy for dessert after dinner.

Are you familiar with the graham cracker sandwich?  It is simple. Just a graham cracker, frosting, then another graham cracker.

We were enjoying cream cheese frosting that evening, the store bought kind, because it was on sale and as much as I wish I were the kind of person that always had cream cheese in her fridge, I am not.*

Perhaps this will be one of my life's big regrets someday, but for now I accept it.

And this brings me back to my mother and I, sitting at the kitchen table, enjoying those last few minutes of the day before the circus in my living room shuts down for the night and becomes once more just a room with a couch and toys on the floor.

"Mom, do you remember we used to make these to leave out for Santa every Christmas?" I asked my mom. 

Of course she remembered. 

"Did you know that they were my favorite treat?  I especially loved the way your home made cream cheese frosting had lumps in it.  Those lumps were my very favorite part."

For a long time I couldn't figure out why I didn't like other cream cheese frostings as much, and I couldn't figure out why they didn't look right.  And then one day, I realized. They were missing the lumps.

I don't remember exactly how my mom responded to my confession that the lumps were my favorite, but I do remember she said something about how if she had been a perfect mother there would not have been lumps, but that she settled for good enough and so our frosting was lumpy.

I protested, "but I didn't want perfect, I wanted lumpy frosting!"

I've thought about that a lot since that night, since my mother has gone home and it is back to being just me on the frontline with my little adorably energetic and sweetly destructive army.

We are told to be the best we can be, to settle not for good, or better, but only for best.  There was a talk given a while ago, about Mothers Who Know, and it terrified me.  I was supposed to do all that? I was being compared to mothers who walked for miles in dusty roads, barefoot, but when they got to church with their children they were all perfectly presentable with their "daughters in clean and ironed dresses with hair brushed to perfection; their sons wear white shirts and ties and have missionary haircuts"?

I can't do that.  We barely have everyone's hair brushed as we make our way out the door for the 15 minute drive to church.  Ok, I take it back. I probably could do that, if I put other things aside.

But I think about lumpy frosting, and how I didn't want to wait and wait while my mom gave her best to mix and mix and bring to the table nothing but perfectly creamy and smooth cream cheese frosting.  I wanted lumps, and I wanted to enjoy it with my mother sitting next to me and my brothers and sister.

So maybe there are times to give your best and be perfect, like teaching your children road safety, and about hot ovens, and about how wild animals might have rabies.

And then maybe there are some things that my kids just want me to be "good enough" for, that they care more that I am just there, doing and laughing and being with them, than sweating to make sure it all happens with perfection.

Maybe someday I will have the strength and energy to be a Mother Who Knows.  But right now, pregnant with three small children running circles around me, chaos in my head and in my home, I will try to just be "good enough".  I will try to be a mother who makes lumpy frosting memories with her children.

*Because I am the only one who eats cream cheese, aside from frosting, and we just don't eat that much frosting around here for me to keep making it.  So whenever I do buy it, it sits in the fridge and gets moldy and then I am sad.  Cheesecake, you and I will be together again someday however, let's not give up.


  1. You are a wonderful mother. :) And I prefer lumpy frosting memories, too.

    Let's eat cheesecake together the next time we are together. K?

    I made frosting graham crackers for my kids a few weeks ago, too. I wonder if we were eating them at the same time.

    I love you.

  2. My favorite lumps are in hot chocolate; never mix too long!