I don't know why, every Valentine's Day morning, I think it's a good idea to make heart-shaped pancakes. It seems like such a loving and maternal and "simple pleasures" thing to do, but actually pancakes are a hassle and a mess. As soon as I get started, I remember this.
Rob and William come into the kitchen and they're completely in my way every time I turn around, and the presence of hot pans and hot syrup is making me jittery with visions of emergency-room burns and permanent scarring, and they keep asking me questions when I'm distracted and trying to keep up with the bubbling pancakes and boiling syrup, and so I start speaking sharply to them and before long they've stopped their happy talking, and not long after that they go out into the living room, and there I am in the kitchen by myself, having ruined another potentially pleasant childhood memory. Why would I speak lovingly to them on Valentine's Day, when the real point of Valentine's Day is PERFECTLY-MADE PANCAKES?
There are drips of batter everywhere, and everything gets sticky with syrup, and meanwhile the children are asking for more and I'm standing there frustrated and starving with half a bowl of batter still left to pour. The twins are inexplicably crying and refusing to eat their pancakes, and their crying seems so ungrateful when I'm working so hard and getting so frustrated.
By the time all the pancakes are made, the children are done eating and I eat a couple of pancakes standing up at the counter before starting right in on the surprisingly large pile of dishes, feeling like the Valentine's Day Martyr, spreading her message of what true love is about: sacrifice and resentment, and loving gestures delivered with sharp words and a crabby attitude.
And as I've said, I do this every year. It would be more in my style of mothering to buy some pretty heart-shaped plastic bowls and serve breakfast cereal in them, and have heart-shaped paper napkins too, and we would all talk happily about what a fun surprise that was and whether they could use the bowls again later for soup, and I would say YES! and it would be a great treat. So why do I keep doing the pancakes? It doesn't matter how often I remind myself that we are all different kinds of mothers and we all have different strengths, I keep trying to work with other mothers' strengths: I try to be the one who whips up a picturesque and entertaining breakfast, when my strength is shopping for fun stuff. Next year, I'm buying the bowls.
Yesterday we talked about Valentine's Day Past, and today as promised we will talk about Valentine's Day Present. What are your plans? Anyone going on a hot date? Anyone staying in and getting a pizza? Anyone turning into a Kitchen Bitch over stupid pancakes?
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