Anyone who knows me knows I have a wonderful family. On my momma and my daddy’s side. Ain’t no better ones in the world to be found. I’ll tell you this once a day and twice on Sundays. Even when we fuss. And fight. And act like our typical, charming selves.
But that rosy, picture perfect family? The momma and daddy who loved each other unconditionally, the beautiful home, all that jazz? Not me. Not us. My momma tried. But there were no family vacations. We lived in a single wide trailer with no underpinning. Had concrete blocks for steps. We didn’t even have a phone til I was 12 or 13. Talk about social suicide. We weren’t dirt poor. Things could have been much worse. This isn’t a pity story. Keep reading.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a happy childhood. Surrounded by family on all sides of my little corner of North Alabama. 2 Grannies who loved me and spoiled me. Aunts and uncles and cousins galore. I had all that. I had a bike and friends and barns and chicken houses to explore in. A diet that consisted of peanut butter and French fries on demand because I was the pickiest child ever.
But I can’t sit here today and say “Oh, my daddy taught me this” or “When I was “x” age my parents took me to Disney world and it was magical. True story. I remember going out to eat as a family ONE TIME. I don’t remember why we went. I do remember it was to the Western Sizzlin and we sat in a booth beside the huge picture of the bull and the matador. And I remember sitting there not being able to eat because my Daddy was mad about something. Resentful even. I think it was because of whatever reason my momma had used to get us there in the first place.
But now. For the good stuff. I promise we’re getting there. I’m a firm believer divorce is horrible. I don’t take it lightly. I knew we weren’t a happy family, but I was terrified of that “D” word. But I also remember a tremendous weight lifted off my 14 year old heart when it finally happened. Being able to breathe in my own home.
My momma falling in love again, much less even going on a date, was unthinkable. It was a year or two or three, but it happened. At 17, I got a stepdad, a big, nice home and a combined family of my sister and I and FOUR stepsisters. They had 6 girls, y’all. All ranging in age from 14 to about 25. God love them.
My momma loved to cook. My stepdad loved to eat. And he for sure loved her cooking. So as I watched her cooking every night and every morning, it wasn’t a big deal. What was a big deal was all of a sudden she was fixing his plate. Refilling his tea glass. One time I saw him shake it and rattle his ice and I thought “Well, shes lost her mind” when she promptly refilled it.
My love of thrifting came from my momma. It took me a while to get here, but here I am. So when my momma started collecting Fiesta Ware dishes, it was a big deal. She bought them on sale, mind you, but hey. It wasn’t yard sale Corning Ware anymore. She loved those dishes. Got them in every color. And you know what else she did? Those plates she fixed him for supper? She put it on the good plates. Not paper or disposable ones. The ones she had to wash. Looking back for some reason seems like he always got the navy blue one. There may have been a reason for that, too.
Today, I sit at the ripe old age of 47. With a 2nd husband myself. I’m not going to go into the hows and why’s of why my first marriage didn’t work. The good Lord knows and I know. I was blessed with a wonderful son and a lot of happy memories along with the bad ones.
I cooked. I did the dishes. Grocery shopped. Raised my son. With a lot of help from my momma and stepdad, I might add. But I didn’t fix his plate. I remember that they were white Martha Stewart ones. And that I would get irritated when he sat it in the sink instead of putting it in the dishwasher. I broke out the paper ones quite a bit too. But I didn’t fix his plate. It never even crossed my mind.
My husband, y’all. That man is pretty grand. He’s handsome, funny, smart. And you know what else? He loves my cooking. And I love cooking for him. And without hesitation, without him asking me to (actually saying, “hey I can do that”), I fix his plate. Smiling the whole time. Thinking mirror, mirror, on the wall, I am my momma after all.
I’ve graduated from Martha Stewart to Pioneer Woman. They’re robins egg blue and he bought them for me our first Christmas.
Fix his plate. On the good dishes. Don’t break out them paper plates. He’s worth washing a dish or two. And take that second chance if you ever find yourself with it right in front of you. Thanks, Momma, for showing me it was possible.