During the pregnancy of my oldest daughter, no one could have prepared me for the depth of raw emotions I would experience the first time I held Abigail in my arms. I had read all the books on parenting, breastfeeding, sleep habits, and the developmental stages of the first couple years of my baby’s life. But there were no books on how, in a split second, my perspective on love would change forever.
Being someone’s mom changed me in ways I wasn’t expecting. It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes as I could see how I had been so selfish and arrogant during the years of my life with my mom. Even as a child I often questioned her logic and reason for why she did the things she did, like why she always made us wear used clothing or would work until 8 pm most evenings. Didn’t she want to spend time with us? Why did she not care enough to buy us new clothes now and then? Even as a young adult living on my own I was somewhat confused why my mom made the decisions she did.
I apologized to her in my hospital bed. “I’m sorry mom… I get it now. You did an amazing job raising me and I will forever be grateful. Please forgive me for not appreciating you more and doubting you.” Yes, she was doing the best she could with the resources she had just trying to keep a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. She worked hard just so we could have our basic needs met. This realization was going through my mind in the quiet moments in my hospital room where I would stare at Abigail, her tiny toes, feet, and fingers. I just could not believe I was her mom and she was totally dependent on me to meet her needs. I thought to myself: “I would do anything for her, just like mom did everything she could for us.” I discovered rather quickly after becoming a mom that a ‘mama bear’ instinct was unleashed inside of me.
Fast forward to today and I still appreciate my mama. Abigail, who is almost ten years old, looks and talks to me sometimes like I don’t know what I’m doing. Honestly, sometimes she’s right. She doesn’t see value in the role of motherhood. Like me at that age she is squarely focused on her own reality of friends, schools, and hobbies. I’m just here as a pillar of love. However, someday I hope each of my kids, when they become parents, will discover the same epiphany I did about my own mother. Until then, I’ll just hope this Sunday I will get to sleep in, perhaps have breakfast in bed, and gush compliments over the handmade cards I get every year.
To all of you ‘mama bears’ out there: Happy Mother’s Day! We do have value, meaning, and most importantly a high calling.
In honor of Mother’s Day, we are giving away three copies of Jennifer Chandler’s cookbook, Simply Suppers. This cookbook is all about putting good comfort food on your dinner table. Chandler’s Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy, Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe below), and Parmesan Roasted Tomatoes are recipes you’ll want to cook for your family and pass down through generations. It’s a cookbook about feeding families and creating memories.
To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment by 9 pm, May 8, 2011 (Mother’s Day) sharing with us a special memory of your mom or a valuable lesson you learned as a mother.
Contest is opened to US residents. Winners will be chosen at random and notified by email. Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing these cookbooks in honor of Mother’s Day. Congratulations to Angela Willis, Amanda Marie and Tama Filipas! The contest is now closed. Thanks everyone.
© 2010 by Jennifer Chandler. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole
This dish is just too good to be saved only for the holidays.
Reprinted with permission by Jennifer Chandler and Thomas Nelson Publishers.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra to grease the baking dish
- 8 sweet potatoes, scrubbed and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups baby marshmallows
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with butter and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Discard the skins. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the potato flesh until smooth. Add the butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon and level the mixture into the prepared dish. Evenly top with a single layer of marshmallows. Bake until the marshmallows are puffed and golden and the potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes.
- Do Ahead: This can be made a day ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking.
- Time-Saving Tip: I prefer the flavor of freshly baked sweet potatoes. But if you are short on time, you can boil peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain well. Precooked sweet potatoes, which can be found in the grocery freezer section, are another shortcut.
- Variation: My good friend Allison Lemm makes a delicious Bourbon Pecan version of this recipe. Stir 2 tablespoons of bourbon into the sweet potato mixture and add a 1/4 cup of toasted chopped pecans to the marshmallow topping.