Making Meaning Out of Lemon Pound Cakes
“Mom, why don’t you use your time to do something meaningful?” Wow, that sure hit me in my gut and made me realize that today is the day to do something meaningful.
So, now what is it that has meaning? It certainly isn’t making lemon pound cakes to give away, or is it? I love to be in my kitchen baking and listening to music while I gather my ingredients, use the mixer that my mom gave to me many birthdays ago, smell the sweet scents coming from the oven, let the breads cool on the counter as the smell fills up the air in the kitchen, decide on what kind of wrapping I should use to cover the freshly dusted cakes with confectioners sugar. My mom would always make these cakes to give away after someone had done something nice for her, or when we needed a quick dessert for unexpected company, or if a neighbor had been ill and needed a little treat to pick them up. The meaning behind the lemon pound cakes to me is more than you’ll ever know, unless I connect these stories to them.
My sisters and I had always taken the time to bake lemon pound cakes for my mom’s nurses and doctors when she was in the hospital for over a month before she passed away in 1990. It was our way of letting the staff know how much we appreciated the care they had been giving her during her long and painful fight to stay alive. I will never forget that month, that cold and wintry February when my girls were so very young not really understanding the moments of fear and loneliness that went along with losing your mom at the age of 62. How bizarre it is that I was the same age when I was given the diagnosis of ALS. And then to have that feeling of if I die, will my granddaughters not remember me when they’re in their teens or twenties like my girls shared with me? My mom was the first person that came to mind when I was told that I have two to five years to live.
My mom was that kind of lady that everyone was drawn to for her kindness and positive outlook on life. She never really asked for too much and always had plenty of what she needed, or at least that's what I remember. Because of her dying at such a young age, I never got the chance to ask those kinds of questions as I was busy being a young mother myself during her illness. There have been so many times that I’ve cried and felt as if I was cheated out of that mother/daughter relationship of sharing stories and getting advice. So, for me, baking a lemon pound cake and wrapping it up with a bow to give to a friend or the staff at my doctor’s office IS something meaningful--it makes me think of my mom, who will always be in my heart until the day I die.
Yes, I baked lemon pound cakes yesterday and need to make a delivery today to the ladies who passed along a scooter to me last week. Because of their generosity, I scooted down to the park independently to see the fireworks light up over my beautiful town on the 4th of July.
This small act, this exchange of care, is the story of my mother. It makes yesterday meaningful. And today. And tomorrow. And so on.