Tuesday, September 16, 2008

(Sorry. Still not feeling "trivial.")

One Sunday last spring, I chatted after church with my friend, Cindy. I was lamenting our impending move--relating to Cindy how sad we were to leave such a wonderful area, ward, and circle of friends. "But Anne," Cindy said in her wise and nurturing way, "You are moving so close to your mother!"

I sort of got what she was saying, but not completely. My thoughts at that point: "Well yeah, that will be fun. I love my mom. I'm sure that'll be great." But, having lived hundreds of miles from her for nearly a decade, and still maintaining a great relationship with her, I didn't really see how living in the same county would be that big of deal.

But now I get it. Completely. And not just because Mom is absolutely the most fun person to bash around TJ Maxx and Macys' with. Nor is it because she makes a pot roast for all of us every Sunday without fail, even if she herself cannot attend dinner. And it's not even because she watches my boys so I can grocery shop, pick pears at our LDS welfare farm, or go on a date with Taylor. It's not because she calls to see if I need anything at the grocery store and when I say I could use a gallon of milk, she shows up with milk, strawberries, a meal she was going to put in the freezer (you guys might as well eat it for dinner tonight), and some homemade jam. Not because she volunteers to help me continue to pour through boxes that remain packed from our move 4 months ago. Not because she eagerly contributed all of the buttons, magnets, and postage for my auction efforts. Not even because every time Clinique bonus time comes around she calls to see what I need.

OK well maybe it is some of those things now that I read back over that amazing list. But sincerely, here's why Cindy was right. Here's why I love living close to my mother. Here's why it is such a blessing: Because every time I feel overwhelmed or frustrated with myself for being harsh with Blaine or inadequate, she puts her arm around me and says, "I think you're doing amazingly. You still have a little baby. You are accomplishing a lot. You are more patient than I was as a young mother. I think you are doing great." It's because when I don't believe in myself, she totally does. And she's always given me that emotional support, even from a distance. But there is something about seeing her almost daily, something about the physical closeness that seems to lend itself to an even tighter emotional bond. At least for me.

The tricky part is I feel constantly in her debt. She is always providing this tremendous support and doing 9 jillion acts of service for me and my little family. So when she mentioned the luncheon she was throwing last Saturday and that she was busy doing this and that, and decided she didn't have time to do rolls, I jumped at the chance to do something for her. I made the dough late Friday night, and even though I had a sick baby that didn't sleep well that night, I eagerly got up the next morning (well, after Taylor got up with the boys and let me sleep in a bit, bless his heart!) to start rolling them out. I love me a baking session, but I've never been more excited about baking anything.

And all the ladies loved them. And Mom was thrilled. Which thrills me to the point of a lump in my throat just writing about it.

I get it now, Cindy.

note: Incidentally, Cindy is the mother of Stephanie Nielson who I still cannot stop thinking about. I hope you will continue to keep Nie (and Cindy) in your prayers.

And, if you want it, my favorite roll recipe is as follows:

Combine 2 cups warm water (about 104 deg.), 2 tablespoons yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Let sit 5 minutes. Add 2 sticks butter (melted and cooled--again about 104 deg.), 3 beaten eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 8 cups flour. Mix and knead dough. Let sit until doubled. Punch down.
(I let mine rise in the fridge overnight. If you do this, you have to get the dough to warm up a bit before rolling it out or it is too difficult to work with.)

Take a grapefruit-sized wad of dough and roll it out on a floured surface into a circle that is 1/4-inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut the circle into 12 triangles. (You'll do this 4 times, making 48 rolls total.)

Roll triangles up from wide end. Place point down onto a greased baking sheet. (You've practiced this technique with Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, right?!) Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 375 for 12-14 minutes, until golden.


liz said...

I love this post. And love that you called to warn me that it might make me sad (it didn't). Eight years ago when I was trying to figure out how to be a mother of two little boys, I used to explain the phone bill to Matt (this was before cell phones with free long distance) by telling him it was still cheaper than therapy. What our mom seems to know is when to be affirming and comforting, and when to be motivating and a touch pushy. And I'm glad you helped with the rolls (that picture was yummy), but of course we will always be in her debt, as our children will always be in ours. Love you.

danielle said...

I love this post too Anne...and for the record, I love your mom too. Remember when she jumped in and single-handedly organized the lunch for my wedding? While you were on your mission. Yeah she is amazing.

and yes, I would love to do some sewing/craft projects when you are here. I am so intrigued as to the nature of these mysterious projects. When are you coming by the way??

Jacque said...

Anne, your post made me cry because I so wish I had my mother here. Yes you can have a long distance relationship but there are so many times I long for her to be near. I think your post is a repayment to her. Knowing you are loved and appreciated is food enough for the soul.

EMILY said...

Thanks, Anne for this post. I have just recently been REALLY missing my mom. I have always missed her, but just recently things have happened in my life that having the physical comfort of my mom would of made all the difference. Isn't it crazy, no matter how old you are, you always want your mom? I asked my mom about that a couple years back and she said that there are time she wishes her mother didn't live so far away (England). I think it will be a nice feeling for us one day when our kids feel this way about us!

Emily (the Texas one) said...

i love this post. i love your mom. and i love the frequency of your blog updates these days. maybe you should have called me to warn me that this post might make me sad (just kidding...kind of.)

I'm so glad you're loving being near your mom; love it some more for those of us who aren't near our moms, but so desperately wish we were.

Sugar... said...

I think this post hit the spot for so many of us. I think what made it endearing to me is the fact that you said, "But there is something about seeing her almost daily, something about the physical closeness that seems to lend itself to an even tighter emotional bond." It's like a best friend. If you are away from each other, you still pick right up where you left off, but it seems like when you get together you (forgive the analogy) throw up the last 3 months of life all over each other as you try and catch up. There's something about seeing someone every other day that creates a bond; a bond that doesn't depend upon doing something fun all the time or hurrying up to get everything in before you have to say your goodbyes. It's the bliss of just having low-key days, making jam together and chatting, or spontaneously going out for an ice cream cone with Grandma. I wish for those times...soooooo much! So yes, cherish your mama for all of us! I'm so glad you are loving your life up there!

Christina said...

Your rolls look great!

And your mom is so great. I'm so glad that you are enjoying living close to your family - I'm wishing I was closer to my mom right now with the baby coming.

brittani c. said...

That was such a sweet post. It made me miss my mom! In fact, my mom went to Provo High with Cindy...what a small world.

lori said...

I've been thinking so many similar thoughts lately - about mothers. And fathers. I have half a post in progress on the topic, actually. And so I loved this. And I love you. And I would love to try your rolls!

jeanine said...

Your rolls look delish... and this post made me miss my mom. I wish I lived near her!