Today is Mother’s Day, the one day out of the entire year we endeavour to do what we should already be doing on a near daily basis; thanking, honouring, and rewarding those women who gave us life and unconditional love. It is also a day where I am most grateful for our public education system and the teachers employed therein. For it is these fine, upstanding caretakers of our children who bear sole responsibility for ensuring my kids create the perfect Mother’s Day gift, an obligation I am all too happy to pass along to complete strangers.
This is not to say that I am lazy or disinterested in helping thank my wife with sentimental, hand-crafted tokens of appreciation. It’s just that my creativity credentials in the field of craft making are significantly limited, not to mention that my patience when helping young children fashion such artful creations is, to say the least, lacking.
I may have had an endless supply of awesome and inventive ideas for making my wife a mother but I’m kind of shooting blanks when it comes to ideas for celebrating that motherhood. I was raised in an era when macaroni art, handmade clay ashtrays, and large $5 bottles of perfume were acceptable gifts. Thanks to the Stepford-esque world of Pinterest, moms expect something a little more imaginative these days. So I leave the task in the steady hands of the experts; my kids’ teachers. They have yet to fail me.
This morning, as soon as the seven o’clock deadline for being allowed to leave their rooms had passed, the kids scampered into our bedroom abruptly waking their mother (and ME!) from a pleasant slumber in order to ask if they could now give her their gifts. Upon receiving my wife’s groggy but grateful approval, they scurried off to gather their school produced Mother’s Day gifts before squabbling in the hallway over who would give their gift first, something neither wished to do. A door slamming display immediately followed by an intervention from angry dad resulted in my son going first and my wife receiving what I must admit is quite possibly the cutest and funniest Mother’s Day gift ever.
It was a cook book created by all the kids in my son’s class. Ah, but not just any cook book. Never once did my youngest child, and it should be noted pickiest eater, come home asking for favourite recipes to bring into class. Never once did the teacher communicate a similar request via email or otherwise. No, instead the teacher sat down with each kid individually and had them dictate to her their favourite recipe, ingredients and cooking instructions included, from memory. The results are, as you can well imagine, spectacular. Serious health hazards in most cases, but nonetheless spectacular.
My son’s contribution is his beloved breakfast staple, chocolate chip banana muffins. He does sometimes help me make them, measuring and adding ingredients and turning the mixer on and off, though admittedly he does this just to get a sampling of the chocolate chips. Still, it’s quite remarkable how much of the recipe he actually knows. Sure it’s a complete mess but the gist of the recipe is all present in his iteration. Of course I wouldn’t eat them, but I’m rather impressed he remembered so much.
Every recipe in this cook book is a treasure in all its misremembered and erroneous glory, each “mistake” a testament to the sweetness and innocence of childhood. They’re also funny as hell. They make you laugh a joyous, soulful laugh that six year olds are so adept at triggering. The kind of laugh a mother cherishes with tears. The kind worth sharing.
With that in mind, I give you the greatest collection of recipes you’ll never dare to eat. Seriously, don’t. Just. Don’t.
Happy Mother’s Day from my son’s fantastic Grade 1 class and thanks to his wonderful teacher for, once again, making my life a whole lot easier.