Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed and Other Forms of Loving Torture
Mothers of little ones will undoubtedly find themselves “surprised,” at least once, by the gift of breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. For some of us, this act of love can test even the most cast-iron stomach. Without an adult supervising the breakfast preparations, the single mom, who has been quarantined to her bedroom, must pretend to be sleeping and refrain from dialing 9-1-1 when she smells smoke or hears a loud crash. She is supposed to be resting, after all, in preparation for her holiday pampering.
When I was 11 or 12 years old, I too bestowed the gift of breakfast in bed on my mother. Although my dad was there, I insisted on doing everything myself. Her tray was a turned-over shoebox lid. Her flowers were dandelions (which I still think are truly lovely), and her eggs were an improbable mixture of runny and charred. Her coffee was mostly creamer with just a hint of brown . . . damn scrumptious coffee to a kid.
I remember the look that she gave my dad after I proudly plunked my delicacies in her lap. At the time, I chalked up her insistence that he share her eggs and take a “big ol’ bite” to an act of wifely love. I now realize that it was retribution for him not doing a better job of stepping in to save breakfast.
Thinking back to how much he had to pick through my creation to find a morsel of solid, non-burnt egg, it now makes sense that he took the time to teach me the proper way of cooking eggs before Father’s Day rolled around the following month.
After they each took their obligatory bites of egg and thanked me profusely for my loving efforts, I remember my mother asking me if I would go and get her just a touch more coffee. I returned with a full cup and happily found that my breakfast had been completely devoured. My parents sat there smiling, insisting that they had just eaten, hands down, the BEST eggs ever. My dog, sitting nearby, was licking his lips.
Decades later, my daughter insisted on pampering me with breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. In previous years, my son had led the charge, so I was a breakfast-in-bed veteran. He was hundreds of miles away finishing up his first year of college, however, so this year, my 12-year-old daughter was on her own.
With no adult in the kitchen to help her, there I sat, bolt upright in bed until it was almost lunchtime, because I’d been instructed to “stay sleeping” for an insane length of time until breakfast was ready. As I listened to the loud clanks and bangs and refrained from running into the kitchen when the overly sensitive smoke alarm went off, I did my best to remotely discern the actual danger level.
Finally, the big moment arrived. My daughter flung open my bedroom door and announced that breakfast was ready.
“Aren’t you bringing it to me in bed?” I asked, confused.
She pulled a face. “Eating in bed is gross, Mom.”
She had a point. Happy to be released from my bed prison, I made my way to the kitchen table where I was confronted with my very own heaping pile of charred eggs.
“I peeled most of the black off, so they should be pretty good,” she assured me.
“Well they look delicious!” I insisted as I went around the room opening windows and doors to give the smoke an escape route.
It must take a while to peel the black char off eggs, because aside from their attractive mixture of yellow with black flecks, they were also stone cold. I took a tentative bite and noticed that they had the texture of cooked foam. How does one burn eggs while also turning them into foam?
I looked around for the nearest dog.
“Punkin,” I said, beaming at my daughter, “would you mind getting me a little more coffee? With a touch of cream and sugar? Oh, and also some cinnamon?”
Confident that she would be occupied for a while, I started shoveling eggs to Bao Bao, our Boston Terrier, as quickly as the little thing could choke them down. It was slow going. She was a fifth the size of the wolf-dog of my childhood, who undoubtedly snapped up my breakfast-in-bed calamity in mid-air as my mom chucked it his way.
Bao Bao’s palate was more refined, unfortunately. She wasn’t sure she wanted to even taste those charred, foamy egg remains, much less choke down the entire plateful.
When it was clear she wasn’t going to do me a solid and finish the eggs for me, I shoveled the remaining bits into my mouth as my daughter returned, sending them down behind an aggressive swig of coffee. Relieved I’d made it to the other side, I commenced to fawning and praising her about how simply MARVELOUS the meal had been.
A loud retch interrupted me mid-sentence. I looked down to see the dog spewing chunks of burnt, slimy egg. Apparently, they hadn’t agreed with her delicate terrier tum-tum.
I had to think quick. I decided to make BS my go-to move.
“I gave Bao Bao some of your delicious eggs, honey, because she looked so hungry and I wanted to share my Mother’s Day treat with her.”
“But. . .but there’s just so MUCH,” she said as the eggs continued to spew, foamier than ever.
Had Bao Bao really eaten this much? Or had the eggs swelled in her stomach? The burnt eggs in my own stomach started to roil. I stood up to fetch the paper towels and get away from the smell of vomit mixed with burnt food.
After cleaning up the eggs the dog gave back, I returned to the kitchen table where my daughter was sitting, slumped, looking at her hands as if they’d done something wrong.
“You didn’t like the eggs, did you?” she asked, her voice thick with disappointment.
I went through my options. Do I continue down the line of BS that I’d hopped on, or do I throw myself off it?
It was too late. She had seen the look of panic on my face.
“Honey, look at me. I’m going to be completely honest with you. I mean this with all my heart, so listen closely.
“Those eggs were a total disaster. I mean, truly inedible. Not even the dog could keep them down.
“BUT, they were your disaster; burned, picked through, chilled, and vomited up all from a place of love. I’ll tell you one thing. I’ll never forget those eggs for as long as I live. The smell of burnt food will forever bring me back to this very moment.”
I paused as Bao Bao made one last egg-spewing retch. “And I’ll tell you another thing. I love those eggs way more than I would have if they’d been perfectly made. Those eggs are now part of a meaningful story. In fact, this is a story that will probably be told every single Mother’s Day, even after you have kids and start celebrating your own Mother’s Days.”
I paused again as Bao Bao sniffed the regurgitated eggs. Was she going to give them another shot?
Thankfully, no. Bao Bao headed to the couch and busied herself with making a bed out of a freshly laundered pile of clothes.
“And I’ll tell you a final thing. After school is over and the summer break has started, I’m going to teach you how to make eggs and a decent cup of coffee. Because my stomach simply cannot live through another Mother’s Day breakfast like this one. And clearly, neither can Bao Bao’s.”
My daughter cracked a smile, much to my relief, and before I knew it, her arms were wrapped around my neck.
We cleared the breakfast dishes. I discreetly popped a couple of Tums and shot Bao Bao—half buried in the clothes heap and sleeping peacefully on the couch—a withering look. Mom and daughter celebrated what was left of Mother’s Day by tooling around the funky shops downtown.
At the end of our shopping spree, she had purchased me a pair of white Converse out of her own money, because “No offense, Mom, but your taste in shoes needs help.” In return, she acquired several new shirts totaling four times the cost of my new shoes. Not surprisingly, she declared Mother’s Day a success.
We ended the day at our go-to ice cream shop (Amy’s), and I ordered bourbon ice cream made with real bourbon. While observing my raven-haired beauty attack her cup of Triple Chocolate Threat mixed with M&Ms, I let the ice cream slide down my gullet to soothe my still traumatized stomach and agreed that it had, indeed, been a wonderful Mother’s Day.
Funny Parent Mom
- Funny Parent