My Mom Can Beat Up Your Mom

Mother’s Day is coming up soon. It always causes some anxiety on my part. I really enjoy gift giving, but somehow with my mother, I always bomb miserably.

You would think that out of Mister Elwood, Baby Bear and Mama Bear, I would connect the best with Mama Bear. I mean, she is my most compatible zodiac sign. That leads me to think that we would have this almost psychic connection which would allow me to know her heart and intuit what might be the best, most satisfying gift that she could ever want for. Alas, this seems to never be the case and holidays always tend to be really awkward for us all—mainly because nobody really knows what to say when they open my gifts.

“Oh, what a nice documentary on the life of the chicken…”

Were this a movie, that line would be followed by a pan of the room with everyone avoiding eye contact with everyone else to the soundtrack of crickets chirping. But instead, it’s real life and it’s followed by Baby Bear saying, “Oh my Holy Jesus, Sarah! Seriously, what the f**k were you thinking?” (True story: Don’t forget that BB is a world class cusser.)

If you’re going to hang tight with a weiner dog that wears a flower on her collar, it’s best to have a tough “Mom” tattoo in order to retain a bit of your street cred.

Then there was Mother’s Day two years ago when I pledged my undying love to her permanently with a tattoo of a heart with a mom banner on it. I thought it was great. Rock star. Tough. A forever tribute to the one who brought me into this world.

She was disgusted. I guess that sometimes generation gaps cancel out compatible zodiac signs.

This year, I picked out something that I’m pretty proud of. I think that I probably won’t even have to explain myself when she unwraps it…. Although, I think that every year and almost always have to launch into this long, involved story about how and why I got this and what made it seem like a good idea at the time… which inevitably reveals itself as a less than spectacular idea as it begins to unfurl from my lips.Even if I bomb again this year, I had a lot of fun picking this out and my family will have a lot of fun making fun of me. I also got a no-fail consolation gift to go with the big ticket item (just in case).

I can’t tell you what it is on the interwebs for God and everyone to see as it will ruin the surprise. Mama Bear is an avid reader of my blog. So, I’ll just say this: For the world’s most competitive woman… who challenges almost everyone she meets to an arm wrestling competition on the spot, this is a great gift. Were I in her shoes, I would pack this up and take it with me on the road to every show! That being said, I really enjoyed the documentary on the life cycle of the chicken… and that one didn’t go over too well.

Knowing that my gift giving abilities are somewhat in question, I’ll focus instead on my giftings. I get enough good feedback on my blogs to know that I can write alright. So, in a last ditch attempt, hoping that even if my  no-fail consolation gift fails this can serve as my for-real-no-fail consolation gift– in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ll tell you a fun story about Mama Bear that makes me laugh and cry at the same time:

I love to cook and bake. I always have. There is something so sweet and special about making food and giving to other people—I don’t know what it is. Although I have memories of being a child and having our neighbor, Della, bringing yummy foods over to share. Maybe that’s part of it—you recognize the things that made you feel special and then you want to pass it on to other people that you love? Regardless, food as a means of expressing love has always been one of my things, which is interesting if you think back on the fact that for most of my childhood, I was pretty chunky.

I don’t remember how old I was—probably in high school, but early high school, because wewere still in our first house and hadn’t moved out into the country yet. I was old enough though to have surpassed making things from recipes and was at that point in time experimenting with my own creations. I had this great idea that I was going to make bar cookies—but instead of being just plain old cookies, they would be brownies on the bottom and chocolate chip cookies on the top. This takes quite a bit of experimenting because they’re different textures and consistencies. You can’t put the cookies on the bottom layer because they’ll get too brown and hard and lose their magic. You also have to figure out how to get the cookies a bit more cake-like so that they will cook at the same rate, but not so cake-like that again, you lose the magic.

After I was finally about to troubleshoot all of the problems with my pairing, which probably required multiple iterations and attempts to get it to the point that I was willing to actually share the product with people, I had the perfect brownie/cookie bar combo. It was late at night. Everyone else had already gone to be. All the lights in the house were off, but the kitchen and oven lights.

Mama Bear has always been a light sleeper, so I suppose that the timer on the oven woke her up. When it rang, I opened the oven and pulled out the 9×9 square, clear glass pan. I was so proud of my beautiful bars with their rich, pretty layers. I should have thought this through (novice mistake, I guess), but I was so transfixed that I lifted up the pan and held it at an angle to admire the lines where the brownies melded into chocolate chip cookie. The next part happened so fast that I can only speculate as to what happened. I think that as I was holding up the pan above my head to admire my handiwork in the light, I tipped the pan a little too much and lost my grip. The hot, heavy glass baking pan did a little shimmy down my forearm and in spite of my valiant efforts, I lost my grip. In the midst of simultaneous attempts to catch the pan and moving out of the way so that it wouldn’t fall on my head, I flipped the pan completely upside down and all of beautiful layered decadence toppled out onto the yellow and orange linoleum floor.

I was absolutely beside myself, but when you live in a 1500 square foot house, you can’t just start wailing at the top of your lungs in the middle of the night because you dropped a pan of brownies in the middle of the kitchen floor. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just sat down in the floor and stared at them. It seemed almost disrespectful to start cleaning them up right then, before they were really even dead yet. So, I just stared at the mess.

Dixie the weiner dog circa 1996-ish? She was so fat because she ate all of my brownies.

That’s when I noticed the weiner dog skirting around the edges of the kitchen, watching me to see if she might be able to scoot in and get to the people food before I caught and scolded her. In the Mac house, weiner dogs don’t just roam around the house at night, they snuggle up in between Mama Bear and Mister Elwood. So, I know that someone was awake and was  silently standing behind me. I didn’t really want to turn around because the sight of Mister Elwood filling the doorway clad in nothing but his tighty-whiteys might have put me over the edge, so I just sat there and continued to stare at my dying brownies, fending off the dog. Luckily, it was Mama Bear, not in her tighty-whiteys, but rather in her funny beige caftan that she used to wear as a housecoat. She sat down next to me on the floor, picked up a hunk of brownie/cookie and tasted it. “Wow, this is really good, Sarah.”

And then I started laughing, which in turn made me start crying. And then Mama Bear and I, along with the dog, ate about half of the pan off of the kitchen floor in the middle of the night, blistering our fingers and tongues because it was still so hot out of the oven, before we decided to clean it up and turn in.

As it was happening, I remember thinking, “This could so totally be a heartwarming scene from the end of a movie, backed by an uplifting acoustic singer-songwriter soundtrack.” [The complete opposite of the movie scene where Mama Bear opens her chicken documentary—cue crickets and Baby Bear’s snarky comments.] I still think back on it sometimes and laugh, wondering if she even remembers that. My guess is no, because although she’s a great arm wrestler, she has a really bad memory. I expect that I’ll find out shortly after posting this 🙂

If you’re bummed out because your mom isn’t as cool as mine, you can always come tomorrow to our show at the American Legion Hall in Tallahassee to hang out with her. She was one of the smart ones who bought a reserve table ahead of time (there may be a few left—I’m not sure, you should email to find out). I would not recommend challenging her to an arm wrestle though because although she’s sweet and she’ll eat brownies off of the kitchen floor with you in the middle of the night when your heart is absolutely broken, she still grew up as the youngest of five in rural South Georgia, riding motorcycles and watching her brothers burn things down, so she’s tough. And… she’ll probably break your wrist!

Three Cheers for Mama Bear! Shown here, dressed all Kentucky Derby style for my alcoholic popsicle party two summers ago!

So, here’s the rest of the scoop. Housemate got on my case this afternoon for not sharing all of the cool things that have been happening in Sarah Mac Band land lately. There are many things, my friends. Although I’ve been quiet on the blogging front, that doesn’t mean that things haven’t been happening behind the scenes. Check back in a few days for your catch up blog posting with links, videos, and pictures!

See y’all tomorrow at the Legion  Hall. It’s gonna rock your socks off!