W What I Didn’t (and Did) Learn from my Mother
How to Be Domestic: It wasn’t her fault. She tried. She tried many times while I was growing up to teach me to cook. I just wasn’t interested. I wanted to read.
Oh, I used to make a few things once in a while. I had to take Home Ec in junior high, in which I learned to make chicken à la king, and I did actually make that one for my family…once. There were some cookies, maybe a cake; later on I tried my hand at eggplant Parmesan and a gourmet mac-and-cheese recipe. But those times were few and far between.
First and foremost, a sense of humor. How to laugh at odd little things. My mother’s humor always had a little caustic edge, often directed at herself. Over the past years, as I’ve watched her grow old, I’ve marveled at how she could maintain that so well. When arthritis all but crippled her, she’d laugh at her own moans and groans, make funny faces, and joke about the cane she had to carry and the walker she eventually needed. Even now, with dementia, she can still make fun of herself, and her sense of humor delights the staff members at her residence. I hope that I can do as well as I grow more and more toward her age and less capable of certain things.