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I got to experience a progression last Sunday. Whether it was progress sort of remains to be seen.

Progression came in the form of a celebration last Sunday to honor the Lovely Mrs. Smith for one of her primary roles -- that of mother to our assorted progeny.

Yes, if you're looking for the reason all of them survived to something approaching adulthood, can read and write and aren't feral, it's her.

Apparently, without ever having watched "Friday Night Lights," she has successfully embodied the words of its female lead who told one of her children, "it's part of my job to make sure that you don't grow up stupid ... it's bad for the world."

Our kids reflected she was successful in that goal when the progeny collectively decided the best way to honor their mother was to take her out to brunch. Because that meant she wouldn't be spending the day intended to honor her knee-deep in the kitchen, making something(s).

That's a mom thing. It's also borderline reflexive. Our children have always known that in their deepest, darkest moments of despair, they could always come to their mother for rock-solid advice, unconditional love and fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies. Plus some to take back with them for later.

Brunch was also a good call because it and tailgating at early kickoffs are nature's way of saying, "yeah, I know. It's not noon yet. But you can still have a drink."

As part of a progression potentially marking progress, brunch was also a fine idea because it has the advantage of being a somewhat movable feast, in the sense that, when we were done, we could move away from the feast, and someone else was going to be moving the dishes.

That has not always been a feature of Mother's Day celebrations at our house. In fact, until fairly late in the process, the event mirrored what I'm sure most American mothers went through. Which is to say, starting the day trapped in their beds by the passive restraint of not wanting to disappoint their children by getting up while they prepared her a version of breakfast not usually found on the menu at many upscale resorts.

Offerings for the event typically consisted of soggy cereal of a brand that appeals to 7-year-olds and anyone else lacking fully developed taste buds. It was soggy because they always seemed to want to make it first, and trying to keep children safe in an environment that features sharp things and open flame means, well, something's gotta give. And that something was any sense of appropriate prep time.

Courses for the breakfast generally moved on to eggs prepared (almost) featuring just a touch of shell, pancakes a la hockey puck and whatever juice might be in the fridge, with or without the box.

This was all done in such a way as to not shatter the peaceful calm of the morning. At least any more than turning a collection of bear cubs loose in your kitchen might. And the element of surprise that is usually the hallmark of breakfast in bed? Yeah, so lost they're likely to locate it only after they've found Amelia Earhart.

Since those cooking sessions tended to start at roughly the crack of dawn, since children tend to start at roughly the crack of dawn, and since it was "her day," the only other at least marginal adult in the house needed to be up overseeing the mini-chefs. Which often resulted in conversations much like the following:

The Lovely Mrs. Smith: "Is that coffee?"

Me: "Couldn't watch all of them, so I don't really know. But ... it really needs to be."

Thankfully, at least for those of us who appreciate breakfast that's not the stuff of prison movies or class-action lawsuits, we've moved on past that here at the Smith Bed and Breakfast (not the Breakfast in Bed). And right to an area restaurant where our children, most of whom don't live at home anymore (and one of whom is only lingering) had taken care of all the details in a way that was a significant culinary improvement.

Whether it was an overall improvement, well, depends. While there are no immediate plans, odds are it won't be that long before our kids will experience the joy of peanut butter, raisin and marshmallow toast that almost makes it to the bed. Hey, five-second rule applies on Mother's Day as well.

And that will be progress. As well as part of the progression.

Commentary on 05/17/2019

Print Headline: Making progress, sort of

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