Saturday, April 7, 2012

Channeling the genius...

To quote my 82-year-old no-nonsense-ex-farmer Dad, my mother "was a bloody genius". 
Today, Mum was definitely with me in spirit.
The man of this house, who grew up in a Greek-Orthodox, Easter-Bunny-free family still has NO CONCEPT of how, where or when the seasonal rabbit should work his magic.  For the last week, chocolate eggs have been coming out of the woodwork (and sock drawers) in this house, and the girleen is still expecting the Easter Bunny to visit tonight. 

HOW MUCH cheap chocolate can a family possibly eat?

How about we use it as entertainment...?  Today we melted down a goodly portion of the stash and the girl made her own new Easter eggs.  (Special thanks to Auntie Wilma for the chocolate molds).
Yes, the kitchen was splattered with chocolate and the finished eggs are somewhat rustic, but the activity filled in the best part of the day with lots of finger-licking fun.  It's the sort of messy, creative stuff my Mum was happy to see us engaging in, and indeed encouraged to keep us occupied and out of her hair.  She was a busy mother of eight and, as my Dad points out, she was a bit canny.

I thought of Mum again today, when I asked the wee girl if she thought she was old and responsible enough to learn how to iron her clothes.....

We turned an overflowing ironing basket into a mother-daughter bonding session.  There was gentle instruction, lots of supervision and excessive encouragement.....and the girl ironed her clothes.
This is unabashed plagiarism. My mother taught us all how to iron our clothes this way when we started school, and from then on our clothes were put away un-ironed.

I don't think I'll ever top my mother's Melted Record Peanut Dish brilliance, though.... it's legendary.

One day, when I was about my girl's age, my mother suggested I make a peanut bowl as a xmas gift for family friends.  She'd seen a new idea somewhere and thought we should try it out.  She gave me a record - a single - and told me that I could soften it in the oven.  We had a lovely afternoon, melting and shaping the record into a bowl with fluted sides, and then letting it cool.

As I was painting the new peanut dish gold, my then-16-year-old sister came into the room and saw what I was working on.  She read the label on the record and hit the roof.

SATISFACTION by The Rolling Stones.  

My mother was of a different generation.  She didn't understand rock 'n roll ....and she never did like that record.

Mum then told my sister to leave me (the poor child) alone.  How was I supposed to know that it was a special record...?

Bloody genius. 

(Mind you, that record would have been worth keeping....)
 In pale imitation, I give my girl freedom to decorate posh almond cupcakes with blue icing and marshmallows, and encourage her to  make presents for her friend's birthdays.
 (I just love that machine-closed stuffing hole.  My girl is all about getting the job done FAST...).
I know that this isn't the end of my mother's genius.   If anyone can pick up the torch and run with it, it'll be my girl. 

Tomorrow, as I hold my Mum's frail hands and wonder what has meaning to her, I'll be holding tight to this thought.


Katy Cameron said...

Yep, I think your mother was a genius, love the record peanut bowl the most :oD

Carmel Morris said...

I see you're working on that ironing lady ;) Happy Easter, Nikki, to you and your family x

Lisa M said...

Congrats on the ironing lesson. I did the same with my children, although my two boys (11 & 13)have both believe that their wives will do this for them!! I hope to be a fly on the wall that day when they let their spouses in on that one.

Your girl's present for 'Julia?' is most impressive and hopefully will be cherished by her girlfriend.

Happy Easter to you and yours.

Sally said...

This is such a wonderful post. Your mother sounds like an exceptionally brilliant person. Like mother like daughter hey?

Luna Landing said...

Awesome post - made my night! From the sad fate of the Rolling Stones record to the super toy your daughter made her friend. Yep, my girls a bit like that, getting it done fast counts for more - love it!!!
PS Your mum does sound like a total legend. Have a great Easter.
Luna X.

Jane said...

Wow, lovely ppst but the end especially is very touching. Yes, it is comforting to believe in living legacies.

Leonie said...

xox I'm off to have a little cry now.

A Peppermint Penguin said...

Have a hug.

For being such a good Mum and being such a good Daughter.

And for being a bloody genius yersel!

Bunny said...

Loved your post. As one of eight who had an amazingly similar Mom, I understand. I only wish mine was here so I could hold her frail hand too. Thank you so much.

Fer said...

Priceless. (you've made me go all gooey again too) xoxo

Sophie said...

Such wonderful memories Nikki!!! I love that you carry that torch and let your girl loose to explore and discover her own creativity!

Kylie said...

Agh yes - the ironing pile, is 4 too young to teach them:)
Love the idea of melting down the chocolate and making a special one together and mother and daughter bonding time is special, I wonder if she will be lining up for more of it:)
Happy Eaaster Nikki

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Amazing to see the growing of the third generation genius :)

oonaballoona said...

what a beautiful post. just beautiful.