Buckled Love

Cheerios, cereal, blueberryCereal and blueberries. That’s what I should have for breakfast this morning. But as I stare at the quart of blueberries sitting in my refrigerator’s fruit drawer, I change my mind.

Two months ago my mom died. Yet, it seems like she’s still alive, and like she left years ago. In fact, I wasn’t able to mourn her for the six years she suffered from dementia, but since she’s died, I’ve celebrated her vitality and misdeeds and shenanigans and mostly, her love for her family, in big and small ways.

The big way includes making an album of her life. The small way includes today’s decision. I shall make my mom’s recipe of Blueberry Cake.blueberries, summer fruit, mother daughter love

I wonder if this is one of the recipes she got from her mom. Quite possibly, since it seems old-fashioned.  This is not my daughter’s recipe (as in “this is not your mother’s jeans”).  However, I chafe at the idea that anything from a mother is out dated and stodgy. 

I digress. Old-fashioned is “in” now. Look at how many young women have been making bread from scratch – banana bread, sourdough bread, no-knead bread. The old is new once again.

blueberry cake, recipeBut again, I digress. My mom shared her blueberry recipe with me after I was one-year married and she and my dad moved from another state to live 20 minutes away from me. Suddenly, we were more compatriots than mom and daughter. We drank scotch on the rocks together, we played tennis together, and we even giggled like school girls as we gossiped about “life.”

Out came her old (and I mean, old) recipe box. My parent’s home was a block away from a small farm, and in the summer my mom would buy boxes of fresh blueberries. And we’d make her mom’s Blueberry Cake.blueberry cake, dessert

But it’s not really a cake. More like a buckle. I’ve always wondered why some desserts are called a “buckle.” I looked it up. When a fruit “cake” bakes, the batter rises, but the berries and crumb topping weigh it down, which causes the surface of the cake to buckle. dessert, blueberries, blueberry cake

Sounds like our relationship – mom’s and mine. Our love for each other was high and light, but the “fruit” in our life weighed us down: my dad’s alcoholism and their separation, my divorce and remarriage to a man who moved me and her little grandbabies across country, far away from her. We buckled, my mom and I.

But despite that, our love was always sweet and satisfying and, dare I say, “not your grandmother’s mom/daughter relationship.” We were best friends who argued, but by god, we always had each other’s back….and heart and soul.

Taking a blogging break as the family congregates to celebrate our mom/grandmother/great-grandmother’s life.

146 thoughts on “Buckled Love

  1. Bless her and you. No mother/daughter relationship runs smoothly but as long as the love is there. I am pleased to hear you can finally celebrate the life of your amazing mom. Sending hugs your way. xo

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    • Many thanks for your thoughts, Kathy. I think we learn so much from each other and our stories. And those of us who are compassionate readers/writers grow with each story we read and share. Big hug to Goddess You. xo

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    • Thank you thank you, Cindy. This is what writing does for us – makes “things” (like people/relationships/emotions) understandable. Or at the very least, the writing helps us continue to feel the love in all kinds of ways. ❤

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  2. Your love for Mom is pure, though bittersweet, like most mother-daughter relationships. I love nostalgic pieces, so this one touched my heart and soul.

    Some observations: I’ve waited all my life to understand how “buckle” could be associated with baked goods; now I know + the cereal bowl of Cheerios and berries like you pictured start me most summer mornings.

    An exquisite tribute, Pam! ((( )))

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  3. Pam, “The love for family, in big and small ways.” This is how I want my daughters and family to remember me best.

    Oh great, Pam, now I have morning tears brimming over Blueberry Cake. The actual recipe card stained with baking fingerprints, infused with love. Wow, on the “buckled.” Now my tears are spilling over.

    Having each other’s back…and heart and soul……..how I want my daughter’s to remember me best. Thank you for sharing what is most important with your beautiful words. ❤️

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    • This recipe card has been used so many times that I had to show it here. Each time that dessert comes out a little differently. But that’s what makes it real. None of us are perfect but … love ? Love is always perfect in all its imperfect ways. 💗

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  4. Oh my! We are SO on the same wavelength today. Yes–the time we were not able to mourn when our mothers were there in body but not in mind. Not truly there, or not the vital women they were.
    Yesterday, we went to the storage unit where all of my mom’s belonging were hastily packed up after she died. It’s so sad. We’re all still social distancing, so no celebrations or hugs of commiseration. But today, I’m making a blueberry cake.

    I’m glad you’ll be able to celebrate your mother’s life with your loved ones. Hugs, Pam. ❤️

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  5. A beautiful post, Pam. Mother/daughter relationships can be so special as they grow and evolve. And I’m not surprised that something like a special dessert brings back memories of the good times and carries the past into the now… and into the future. Have a wonderful celebration of your mother’s life. I hope in addition to the tears, there is plenty of love, hugs, and laughter. ❤ ❤

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  6. I think from what I’ve read about your mother, she was pretty special. I can relate to the blueberry “buckle” because I make my mother’s plum cake with the same kind of reminiscence. Sending you hugs and good thoughts as you celebrate your mother’s life.

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    • I’m patting myself on the back that I taught you – an amazing baker – something about a buckled cake. I hope you make one sometime soon! Thank you so much for your comment, Robbie. ❤️

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  7. You were so lucky to have such a wonderful relationship with your mom! Love how you share your memories. I have never had blueberry cake. It almost looks like a cobbler in the picture. I eat blueberries and raspberries daily — love them. But the cake looks delicious.

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  8. Such a beautiful post, Pam. Sending you much love as you celebrate your mother’s life (as well as condolences, once again). Mother-daughter relationships can be so difficult. I am lucky as mine with my mother is pretty darn good. Now I’m looking at the three cartons of blueberries I have and suddenly have a hankering to make blueberry cake (mine, from a late beloved aunt – filled with booze and memories)

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  9. Both my Moms–my own and my beloved Mother-in-law— were both terrific cooks and bakers. I was lucky to have recipes from both. When blueberry season rolled around, it was a choice of pie or crumble for the family and we usually opted for the crumble. Lots of blueberries and topped with a crumble topping of chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and butter. The topping came out brown and crisp with the bubbling blueberries beneath–perfect with ice-cream or not. To be honest, I don’t think I tried the blueberry coffee cake recipe Mom made for Dad–one day I will. . . .Glad you have the family recipe for your blueberries Pam. I do enjoy the family tradition of food and goodies passed to the next generations. Hugs to you and yours.

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  10. Calling your relationship with your mother a buckle is perfect , now I know what to call the relationship I had with my mother. I have an old recipe for a German apple or cherry cake. I will make it in honor of your and my mother with blueberries and call it a buckle.
    Take good care of yourself and stay safe. Hugs!

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    • Yay Gerlinde! My mouth is watering just at the thought of the blueberry “buckle” you made or are going to make with your old family recipe. Maybe you’ll put that on your blog! To our moms. XO

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  11. I love the photo of you and your mum. It’s so precious and sweet. And the blueberries cake, what a great memory of your mum’s recipe and the recipe box.
    My daughter is cooking from scratch most of the time and has her 2&1/2 daughter help as mother-daughter projects. Her friends are cooking from scratch also. The old things made new again. She and her friends asked the parents to give them their favorite recipes and share among the friends.
    I also have wonderful relationship with my daughter rekindled after years of being isolated.

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  12. Oh Pam – I don’t even know where to start with a post like this one. There are just so many triggers and potential entry points. So I shall focus on one line … “I’ve celebrated her vitality and misdeeds and shenanigans”. What a gloriously wonderful thing to be able to say about a parent. Hopefully my sons will say that about me 🙂

    I too have a few recipes in my mother’s handwriting. They are precious beyond description 💕

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  13. I’m glad that you have these great memories with your mom. My mom passed about a year and a half ago, and in the last few years, she lived at a memory care center. She was/is the best person I’ve ever known. The sweetest person you could ever know. Even as her dementia progressed, she never lost her gentle nature.

    Now we’re going through it again with my mother-in-law, although not as directly since she lives four hours away. She hasn’t recognized any of her children in the last five years. Because of COVID, no one can visit her. On Mother’s Day, my sister-in-law was able to see her through the other side of a glass door.

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    • Heartfelt blessings to your mom, obviously still and always in your heart, and blessings to your M-I-L, who must be experiencing loss and confusion with no family able to visit her. I think that was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for my mom.

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  14. Cheers to the many wonderful memories and the frequent reminders you will encounter in the future. Loss is never easy, but after years of Alzheimer’s, finality must be a relief. Peace to you. PS: I’ve never heard of buckle as a food.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Buckle” as in Blueberry Buckle, and Peach Buckle, etc, may be a regional name for the dessert. I heard from a British reader she they never heard of “buckle” used – but a similar dessert is called a “slump.” ;-0 Many thanks for stopping by, Frank. Always good to see you here!

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  15. What a great way to celebrate your mom’s life and vitality . . . by cooking up one of her “old fashioned” recipes. I said good-bye to my mom in increments too. So hard.

    Switching gears, I get a kick out of the varying names given to similar desserts:

    Blueberry Buckle
    Blueberry Crumble
    Blueberry Cobbler
    Blueberry Grunt
    Blueberry Crisp
    Blueberry Slump
    Blueberry Clafouti
    Blueberry Betty
    Blueberry Pandowdy

    Regional dialects love to twist and turn the English language! Happy Weekend, Pam!

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  16. I loved how you describe your relationship with your mom! Yes, we do become more friends and mother/daughter as we age, and of course there are rough spots in the relationship, as everyone’s life is complicated and weighed down one way or another. But the love you have for each other was strong enough to get you through it, as I remember from the heart-breakingly posts you wrote about her.

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  17. Your mother seems like she was one awesome lady. This phrase will definitely stick with me ‘Our love for each other was high and light, but the “fruit” in our life weighed us down”. I totally get that warping of time and space that you express “Two months ago my mom died. Yet, it seems like she’s still alive, and like she left years ago” Enjoy your blogging break.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lisa. I love your comment about my buckled post. I read it early but didn’t get to respond until now. YES, life is “fruity” for sure, a bit sour with the sweet, delightful yet sometimes picking at it is so challenging. 😉 I have a feeling that like me, you appreciate that time and space aew really not linear like we are trained to see it since birth. ❤

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  18. The cake looks yummy – a perfect way to celebrate one’s life and influence. And, blueberries are obviously on your mind, as the last few posts featured them!

    When you told the laundry story, my sister-in-law had just made a blueberry pie for me. My favorite. And, the last few mornings, I’ve had blueberries in my cereal, which – coincidently, as we never buy this kind, but my MIL gave me her box since she’s gluten-free – was Cheerios! Are we connected too?

    Have a nice weekend, without melting away. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Liesbet – I’m finally responding to your fun/funny/poignant comments to my buckled post (which I had read early on but couldn’t respond to until now). YES WE ARE CONNECTED. That’s amazing that you had a bowl of Cheerios with blueberries. Until the pandemic, I never ate Cheerios, but it seemed the easiest thing to order when I had all of these blueberries “hanging around.” 🙂
      And one question – did you eat that slice of blueberry pie in bed??? (ie, In the Laundry Room and follow-up story “Fifty Shades of Pink”) ❤

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  19. What lovely memories of your mother! I recently made a very similar buckle (it was the first time I had heard of this type of cake) with some of the blueberries on our bushes. I loved reading your mother’s recipe card. It was a little confusing and lacked a few measurements, but isn’t that how we put together recipes that we make over and over? The cake you showed on your last post wasn’t the buckle, right? Was that from another of your mother’s recipes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • HI Janis. Finally having a chance to respond to your great comments/question from my Buckled post. Yes, I find that my mom’s and grandmother’s recipes are a bit loosey-goosey on the measurements. But each time I make the Blueberry Buckle, it turns out the same! 🙂 The blueberry pie I showed in my post Fifty Shades of Pink is NOT from any family recipe. Just used a Pixabay image. I’d like to say I made that blueberry pie, but buckles are more my forte. ❤

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  20. I’m so glad you’re getting the opportunity to celebrate and remember your remarkable mom. I hope you make lots of her favorite recipes and relive the memories associated with them, and I hope you have lots of things to laugh about as you remember her. And thanks for the recipe! I might make it, too.

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  21. This is a beautifully moving post Pam, it’s good to be able to share the things that are handed down and the memories associated with them. I dreamt just the other night that I was going to make my mother’s pea soup – maybe I will!

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  22. My mom is 84 (till Sept). My dad just turned 88 in May. I dread the thought of losing either of them. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine …. My heart is with you. I’m so glad you have those memories of your mom….

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  23. It’s interesting how a bowl of cereal and blueberries can take you down a nostalgic road. I understand the relationship comparison. My mother and I were more like rocky road ice cream. Hard and frozen with a few sweet lumps thrown in for good measure. But in the end we made some level of peace and away from everyone else, laughed and giggled quite a bit. I have all her recipes too and those and when I’m sewing or doing hand work bring me closest to her. I have a much better relationship with both my children out of deep intention to be a different kind of mother. I wonder some times what will trigger my children’s memory of me. 🙂 I’m so glad you are going to get to do a small memorial in your mom’s honor. Beautiful post.

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    • Oh my, Marlene. I love the ice cream you chose to describe your relationship with your mom. Rocky Road – yup. That says so much. And yup, we moms (you and I and lots others) are working hard to have more of a “chocolate chip” relationship with our kids, or perhaps mint chocolate chip? 🙂

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  24. I love that description of a cake and of the love between you and your mother, Pam. So much good in life to reflect upon. May the memories of happy times carry you with joy as you celebrate her life.

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  25. Dearest Pam, such a beautiful post and tribute to bake your Mom’s recipe… Would you live nearer lol I could have given you some of our blueberries freshly picked this morning… I love them for my breakfast or within yogurt …
    It is amazing just how those little things trigger such huge memories… I loved seeing your Mom’s recipe..
    You have also taught me something new… I had not heard the term Buckle Cake before… Maybe it is a US thing… But not heard the term here in the UK before for a cake.. Slab cake yes… but Buckle is new to me…
    Sending you tons of love dear Pam… Grief comes out in many layers and going within the flow of feelings is the way….
    Much love Pam..
    May your week be filled with love and lots of slices of your Mom’s beautiful Blueberry Cake recipe…
    Hugs ❤ 💖🙏

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  26. This is such a touching way to honour your mom, Pam. It is lovely of you to build an album of her life, and she must really enjoy making that blueberry cake. And lovely of you to share it with us. Relationships are up and down but at the end of the day, if it is a relationship that matters the love will always be there. Take care.

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