Legend has it that my Great-Grandma Anderson made THE best banana bread.
My dad tells my mother every time she makes some. To be quite honest, one of the reasons I learned to cook as a teenager, was so that I could make my daddy as happy as his grandma made him. I wanted desperately to make her bread the way that she did and each time eagerly waited for him to say that it was just like hers. I followed her recipe exactly, and it never tasted the way he remembered…
This past week was Mother’s Day.
Was it the Mother’s Day from the movies or Better Homes and Gardens? No. I spent it in an airport in Houston, without even a mention of the holiday from my husband. He totally forgot. (You should know, that bless his giant heart, he isn’t great at holidays, gifts, or basically anything romantic. But he sure is fun, kind, and good looking, so it evens out.) When we finally got home, after 10 hours of airport boredom, a 3 hour flight, and another hour of driving, I found these little gems on my dresser.
Are they Hallmark?
No, my second grader’s is actually upside down and backwards.
But, to me, they are perfect.
As the week went on, I read roughly 30 Facebook posts, 8 blogs, and listened to 3 women talk about how much they hate Mother’s Day. They shared about everything from the guilt they felt at church, the deep inadequacy they feel inside, to even tears they shed about that awful day. It made my heart hurt.
Am I the most perfect, gorgeous, pulled together, awesome mother that was ever born? Aaaaahahahahahahaha…*snort*…*sigh*…nope!
Actually, I’m pretty dang far from it.
I forget Star Student days at school, my son’s pants are 3 inches to short, I yell, I cuss, I am a horrible planner and therefore never do all the fun little leprechaun visits for St. Patrick’s Day or the incredible pink and white Valentine’s dinners I see all over Pinterest. I’m horrible at just sitting and playing barbies, 2 of my kids are still on training wheels, my 16 month old doesn’t even have a highchair, nobody plays an instrument, and sometimes I lock myself in the bathroom…and I don’t even have to go.
I catch myself comparing who I am to who I am not.
I love to cook but forget to feed my family. I haven’t done one crafty thing in 2 months. As much as I desperately want my house to be clean, I lack the follow through to get my family involved enough to clean it. I avoid folding laundry, I forget to walk the dog, and some days I have to force myself to shower let alone put on makeup. I want to be awesome. I want to be stunning. I want to be young, hot, and smart. And most of all, I want to be the best mother my children could ever have.
I want to be perfect.
So, what does all this have to do with banana bread?
Could it be, that my sweet Great Grandma made normal banana bread? Could it be that it was her love and the way she made my daddy, and everyone else around her, feel that made them think her bread was sent from Heaven? She loved him and he felt it all the way to the tips of his taste buds. All these years, was my father eating the EXACT same bread that his grandmother made? You know what? Most likely.
Mothers… this isn’t about perfection.
There is no real June Cleaver. The gal down the street that you think has it all together probably put her baby to bed with poopy pants and you don’t even know it. When it comes down to it, it’s not what you did or didn’t do that will matter to your family. It’s not if your house was spotless, that you were super skinny, that you wore the latest fashion, or even that you made the best banana bread. To steal a phrase from LDS Family Services, it’s about love. Plain and simple. If you love your family with everything you can muster, if you are giving your best…they won’t care if you fall short. Quite honestly, they probably won’t even remember what you didn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t do.
Someday, your son or grandson might be telling his wife that his mother made the very best cherry pie that was ever pulled from an oven.
Someday, your daughter might sing the lullaby you once sang to her, and her eyes will fill with tears as she imagines your “relief society arms” wrapped around her and the unbelievable safety she felt there, so close to your heart.
Someday, your granddaughter might tell her grandchildren about her adventurous Nana and how happy you made her as you sat on the tire swing and spun and spun and spun.
And someday, that completely unromantic, but incredibly handsome, husband of yours might sit by your headstone and laugh as he is reminded of the time you forgot your Tooth Fairy duties, again.
They don’t love you for who you could be….they love you for who you are.
Banana bread and all.