As Easy As Peanut Butter and Jelly

peanut butter and jelly, mothers and daughters, family, breakfastWe are always children to our parents.

No matter our age.

I find that comforting.

This past week I flew across country to visit my mom. I have adult children now. I have grandchildren, but my mom waits on me as if I’m still her (young) child whom she must care for and nurture.

You know how tenderly we parents watch over our 3-year- old, our 11-year-old, our 16 and 20-year-old? Well, guess what? We do the same when they’re 29, and 45, and yes, even older.

“I bought a wheat bagel for your breakfast, just what you like,” my mom chirps at 8 a.m. our first morning. I don’t eat bagels. I munch on wheat toast with organic peanut butter and blueberry jam every morning, but I so appreciate the thought that I slice the (just thawed) bagel and search for the toaster.

wheat bagel, breakfast

“I don’t own a toaster,” Mom explains five minutes into my opening and closing cabinets.

“Oh.” I turn on the oven to Broil.

“I’ve never used Broil. Do you think it works?” Mom asks, her voice tinged with wonder and curiosity.

I never use Broil either, at least not for toasting bread, so we stand in front of the oven and wait for four minutes.

I open the door. Bagel’s still soft.

Mom rinses some blueberries and raspberries, throws a few on her cereal, and makes me a bowl. “Sit down and eat,” she demands. “I’ll watch the bagel.”

I ignore her and open the oven – bagel’s still soft.

She pours milk into her bowl and I order her: “Eat before your cereal gets mushy!” She ignores me, and we check the oven.

Bagel’s still soft.

Simultaneously, we hit the Broil button off, and then I select Bake at 450 degrees. “Really, Mom, start breakfast. I’ll be right there.”

Mom stares longingly at her now soggy shredded wheat waiting for her on the dining room table but says, “Let me get the peanut butter out for your bagel,” as if I can’t reach up to the cabinet and pull out the Jiffy jar.

I check the bagel – it’s actually getting a little toasted. Nonchalantly I ask, “Do you have some jam?” but inwardly kick myself as soon as the words are out of my mouth.

Crestfallen, she opens the refrigerator and responds, “How about Seville Orange Marmalade?”

“Um, no, I really don’t like marmalade.”

“How can you NOT like marmalade? Here, try it.”

I hate marmalade. Don’t know why, but I have since I was a kid. So like a kid, I shake my head no. I probably pout too.

Mom pulls out another jar. “Oh, here’s Apricot Preserves.”

whole wheat bage, peanut butter, breakfast“Isn’t that like marmalade?” I ask. By now, I’ve pulled out the crispy browned bagel and start spreading it with peanut butter.

“Try it!”

“I really don’t…”

A spoon with some apricot preserves is suddenly swung in front of me, so I place a smidgen on my bagel and take one bite, making a face. “Nope, don’t like it. I’m fine with just peanut butter. Now, let’s eat.”

Her head is still in the refrigerator. “Aha! Red Current Jelly! Want to try that?”

“You’re kidding me, right?”

I walk to the table with my plate of, by now, cold toasted bagel. “Mom – come on.”

She makes a noise and produces another glass bottle from the refrigerator. “Look! Fig Butter. That could taste good…?”

“Why the heck do you have fig butter?”

She shrugs. “I bought it for a recipe. Umm, that could have been quite a while ago.”

I give her a peanut buttery smile. “Join me.” Her cereal is now indistinguishable from overcooked oatmeal that is dotted with some red and blue berries.

Giving up, my mom sits down at her place, only to pop up with an excited exclamation. She races back to the refrigerator and presents me with her find:


I groan, “Noooooooooooooo.”

She shrugs.

I begin to laugh so hard I can’t take another bite of baked bagel.

How wonderful is it to have a mom who still treats you like her special little girl, the daughter she still wants to keep happy?

But still, I don’t touch the cherry pie jelly.

My mom, making me dinner as I watch and admire.

My mom, making me dinner and still taking care of me.

31 thoughts on “As Easy As Peanut Butter and Jelly

  1. Ah, yes, the curse/gift of being “mothered” – or should I say “smothered?” I try so hard not to be like this myself…and don’t always succeed! Thanks for the Fri morning smiles, Pam, have a great weekend!


  2. P.S. I LOVE good marmalade! Tho’ there’s a lot of bad out there….Bruce doesn’t like it, either.


    • Well, I can’t understand his dislike of spaghetti (un-American…haha) but he and I are on the same page on the marmalade debate. Just give us good ole fruit in a jar, and we’re happy.


  3. Well beautiful Pam, once again you have brightened my day with your terrific story of your precious mom and how she still treats you like the little girl you once were and always will be to her!!! This really made me smile! How fortunate you are to still have your beautiful mom to fuss over you. I envy you that! My precious mom passed away four years ago and I still miss her each and everyday. Reading this made me think of all the happy times I used to have with her!! Thank you again for your wonderful cheerful writing and for bringing back such happy memories for me of my own mom. Your mom is so precious and love her pic you posted!! So funny how she went on and on just to try and please her little girl…YOU!!! Treasure these memories forever!!!! And again dearest, beautiful Pam, thanks for sharing another great blog!!!! You Rock Pam!!! Love you girlfriend!!! Bev


    • Oh Bev, I am quite sure you are a wonderful tender mom yourself – this was a mother’s day gift/story to my mom and to me. Fortunately, she’s a good sport and enjoyed every word. 🙂


    • I’m sure you could close your eyes and see the entire scene – 🙂 Thanks for hitting the ‘button’ and coming into my ‘real’ blog. Haha. SO loved visiting with you last weekend, my beautiful niece.


  4. That was so hilarious and true. My Dad gives off a similar vibe, so eager for me to enjoy all sorts of foodstuffs that I can’t stand.

    “Try this horseradish. I know a guy who makes it fresh. You have never tasted horseradish this good. Never. Try it.”

    “I don’t like horseradish,” I say.

    “You don’t like horseradish?” Dad is aghast.

    I’ve never liked horseradish.”

    “Never? Really? Never?”

    “Have we met?” I ask. I put out my hand and introduce myself — which is always good for a laugh.

    Then, maybe two months later, we repeat the same conversation with another food. Or the horseradish. Makes no difference, really. Dad loves horseradish and he loves me — so of course he would want to put us together.


    • Your dad and my mom would get along just fine. She’s never met a red current jelly she’s never liked. And think of the combination of red current jelly and horseradish on that roast beef sandwich! Try it! You’ll like it!

      I love you’re point here – if our parent loves something, he/she wants US to love it too – it only makes sense.


  5. Someday you will look back and wish your mother was still there pushing the marmade at you….I still miss my mother and it’s been 12 long years since she left this earth!!!!


  6. My mom was the same way, through to nearly the end. I still imagine her making me a scrapple and egg sandwich, toasted in the toaster oven. I guess I do a little of that with my own boy (he’s 33), though I try not to, too often.


      • Yeah…maybe. I think some of it is “I love scrapple and egg sandwiches so you must love them too!” 🙂 If I could get my mom back, I’d eat one of her favorites – liver and onions. And just typing ‘liver and onions’ makes my tummy do a gurgle.


        • Oh, that is true daughter love – eating a mom’s favorite liver and onion meal. My mom used to make that for us when we were kids. I think the time I ran away from the dining room table and ‘lost it all’ in the bathroom is the last time she made it…. :-0


  7. This made me laugh. So many of these details I can see with my own mom and grandma. It’s the thought that counts in the end! I can totally see my mom wondering if her broiler works too-I guarantee she’s never used it. LOL 🙂


  8. This is the most lovely of stories, a Mother’s Day tribute complete with bagels and love. Sigh. I am going downstate to visit my mom very soon. She’ll make me stuff, too. Sigh…may they stick around forever and a day.


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