With Mother’s Day right around the corner, I figured I’d do my own mother the greatest honor I could think of, and post embarrassing stories about her on the internet.
My mom and I have always been tight. As an only child*, with a sassy attitude and a big mouth, I hung out with the grownups a lot when I was little. Obviously they enjoyed my company, because I’m a joy to be around.
*When I was five, my stepdad moved in, and with him came a stepsister and two stepbrothers. So, technically I’m an only child – but I occasionally had to share my toys. And when I got older, we had to share access to the liquor cabinet.
I should start by telling you about Smoop. That’s not her real name… My parents were big Seinfeld fans, and in 1995 – this happened:
Bill, my stepdad, thought that was hilarious, and called my mom Schmoop, which was ultimately shortened to Smoop (mainly because outsiders couldn’t understand what the hell we were saying) and she’s been Smoop ever since. Anyway — I have a lot of Smoop stories, and I want to include as many as possible, hence this only being Part 1. I think we should start with Smoop in the kitchen.
The Wedding Cake
When I was in high school, my aunt and uncle celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, and my mom offered to make the cake for the party. Not only were we going to make a cake – but it was going to be a tiered wedding cake! So exciting! We bought all the supplies (boards, dowels, plastic columns… the works) and started making the cake. I’m not sure how it happened – or necessarily in what order (god, I’m an ahhhmazing story teller!) but cake pans were overfilled, and as they started to rise in the oven, they started to overflow, and catch on fire. So my mother’s solution was to scoop the partially baked cake into a bigger mixing bowl as fast as possible (and from inside the oven). We eventually got all the overflowing cake into an enormous mixing bowl, and went back to business as usual* (once the smoke cleared).
Once the layers were cooled, we started assembling the tiers of cake. It seemed pretty easy. We were really rolling along. We got that sucker stacked, iced, and decorated with those little silver beads (I ate like a thousand of those beads – and then noticed the fine print that said they weren’t edible…) and stepped back to admire our handiwork. Which was completely lopsided. From every angle, but one. So, that was how we set it up on the table at the party. We just asked people not to look at it from the side. Success!
*We ended up baking the extra cake right in the mixing bowl. We ate cake at every meal for the next week. It was delicious.
A few years later, my cousin was pregnant with her first baby, and we were throwing her a baby shower. For the life of me, I cannot remember why this was the plan (ahhhmazing story teller, again!) but we were making bunny-shaped sugar cookies for dessert and for favors. They were really cute (and really delicious) but every time we tried to take them off the cookie sheet, the ears would snap off (this was before we discovered the magical silpat). After thirty or so ruined bunnies, Smoop was pissed. I pointed out that sans ears, they sort of looked like groundhogs, which she really didn’t appreciate. But we were running out of dough, and had to use what we had, ears or not. It went exactly like this:
Me: What are you going to say if someone asks you what it’s supposed to be?
Smoop: I’m going to tell them, “It’s a goddamn groundhog, now eat your fucking cookie!”
Calm and composed under pressure? I’d say not.
She does not like it when I tell this story at parties...
… but she really hates it when I tell this one.
When I was about 15, we were sitting down to dinner. It was me, Smoop, Bill, and maybe my stepbrother Jason… I don’t remember what we were eating, whatever it was was hot, and still in the pot Smoop cooked it in (I’m going to go with rice? Yes, pretty sure it was rice). She was walking around the table serving everyone directly from the pot, which was right off the stove. When she leaned across me to put some on Jason’s plate, the pot burned my arm, right below my shoulder. I started screaming, and crying (it was hot!) and (probably) told her she was the worst mother, ever. (Remember how lovable and cute I was when I was little? That did not extend into my teenage years…) Seriously though, it was an accident — but it really, really hurt.
I’m guessing she had a bad day at work that day? Because I feel like under normal circumstances she would have told me to calm down, apologized, and gotten me an ice pack.
She punched me.
She punched me IN. THE. BURN.
Just a real quick jab to the burn. I’d never seen my mother punch anything (she could scare the crap out of me with a stern talking to, and a look of disappointment) so I think we were all a little surprised. I ran upstairs, slammed my door, and sulked until she came up to apologize (which wasn’t too long).
And then, naturally, I ate my dinner. Because Smoop makes the best rice, and I have an affinity for carbs.
Also, I spent the next 15 years telling everyone about the time she burned me with a pot, and then punched me.