Right From My Mama's Heart

Yes, you're right my Mama could not read or write well.  She struggled because she only completed the fourth grade in a time when money was scarce and The  Depression brought untold hardships.  My mom was born the oldest of 13 children.  She came from Italy to America on a large ship at 9 months of age.  Her lot in life was cooking, cleaning, babysitting, chopping and picking cotton in the Mississippi fields.  Playtime and laughter were seldom a part of her childhood memories.

As I grew, I could never understand why she loved to cook.  I seemed to be all thumbs in her kitchen.  For example, for the 4H Fair, I had to demonstrate my cooking skills by producing some light, fluffy biscuits and delectable, delicious sugar cookies. Ha!  My delicious delights were hard as rocks with no time to bake again....... so I brought hers!  I was a little shy presenting Mama's goodies.  But such was life! 

My mom and I had an unspoken deal: she cooked and I cleaned.  However, I lost interest soon while she excelled in hot, homemade bread, fluffy dinner rolls, creamy, fresh churned butter, homemade raviolis and lasagne (even noodles), cream puffs, pies-- everything always from scratch not to mention numerous Italian dishes that were fit for a king.  Never tell my Mama someone was hungry or sick or there was a death in the family. Gifted with an alertness, energy, and quickness (we daughters did not possess) her masterpiece of culminary displays could be produced "pronto".  There was only one problem as I saw it.  She was the only one who knew the exact this or that ingredient - no cookbook -  no recipe cards.

As I grew older,  I rejected more and more the "kitchen calling" and focused on getting recognition at school.  By now, I had a long list to my credit.  It was only after I married my college sweetheart and we set up housekeeping that I REGRETED not having the skills to boil water.  With my husband's patience and cast iron stomach, I discovered endless adventures in the kitchen.  As my childen grew and I matured I came to the realization that all along the kitchen had been my Mama's school, her playground, her world, her A+ achievements, her applause that she never received from plays and accomplishments. I came to understand the praise and self-esteem she needed growing up and never received........had.come from her handiwork and art form in the kitchen.  This was her Homecoming Crown, beauty pageant trophy (so to speak).  I had an epiphany - this was her way to serve and her main expression of love to others. It was a way to shine- an imaginary boundary I never felt comfortable crossing.  

Reflecting back, I remember the absolute contentment and joy on her face as my Daddy, her children or others praised HER GIFT.  For that is what it had always been. No, my Mama could not read or write very well but God decided to give her a talent that the best schools in the country could not impart.  A gift of tender love RIGHT FROM THE HEART in the offering of a meal.  Sometimes, I think perhaps we were unaware or insensitive to recognize this for what it was: a longing to be appreciated, needed, noticed and praised for who she was.  We all have these universal needs - young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated.  My  Daddy and Mama's legacy included a growing relationship with God and education for their children - an Agricultural Engineer, Nurse, CPA, and  Teacher-- now Author/Blogger.

Let's try harder to recognize the wonderful "DIFFERENCES" we all possess and "CELEBRATE" the way these gifts have enriched our lives.  Yes, Mama we recognize your  servant's heart-- for the way to a person's heart is through the stomach (they say!).  What a memorable way to remember my Mama's gift -- RIGHT FROM THE HEART!                  

             LInda Rossetti Brocato /  Brocato Publishing -Touching Hearts....Changing Lives        June 8, 2012


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