“Does anybody want my guacamole?” my husband asked as our lunch arrived at the table. My mother’s gaze snapped immediately to him, and she said, “I doooo!” You have to know my mother to realize the amount of longing that she put into those two words. My husband doesn’t hate guacamole, but he usually ends up scraping it off of his Mexican food anyway, so he usually offers it to me. By offering it to the first taker, he earned the #1 Son-in-law Forever spot in my mom’s book. My mother loves avocados, and by extension, guacamole. They moved their plates together, made the switch, and ate their lunch, both happier.
When I was a kid we lived in a tiny village a short drive east of Lincoln, Nebraska. It had a small grocery store, but it only had absolute essentials. For anything else we had to go out of town, and often we went to the Hy Vee on 70th and O Street. Not far away, there’s a McDonalds which we used to frequent on the way home.
I can’t ever remember disliking pickles, but I or one of my brothers must have at one point. What I do know is that every cheap hamburger at every fast food place has the same toppings: mustard, ketchup, and pickles. My mom never had to order her own food when we stopped at McDonalds on the way home from shopping, because it became our ritual to give her the Pickle Bite.
“Yum, honey, thanks for the Pickle Bite!” she would say, and chomp down on the burger, barely able to chew and swallow before the next one would be brandished in her face: “Here’s my Pickle Bite, Mommy!”
Eventually it became our way of showing our mother that we loved her (and a race. Who would give Mom their Pickle Bite first?). But since we don’t all go to McDonalds anymore (thankfully), we don’t have as much opportunity to shower my mother with love in the form of food.
She never says no to an invitation to go out and get Mexican food, though. My husband is the only one who is willing to give up his guacamole, but I think the more important thing is that we are showing our mommy that we love her by giving her something that we know she likes. When we were kids, it was a Pickle Bite. Now it’s hanging out, maybe going out to get some enchiladas and a margarita occasionally.
Whatever it takes to show her we care.