1: The Good Parts

1: The Good Parts

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: For Mom, with Love

The Good Parts

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.

~Tenneva Jordan

When I was growing up my mother ate the most disgusting things. Dry crusts from my sandwiches, burnt toast, the soggy last few inches of pizza slices that I always left behind. She ate the dark meat, gizzards even, broccoli stems and the dust of crushed chips left in the bottom of the bag. Hers were the broken crackers, the baked potatoes with the black spots in the middle. She’d peel an apple for me and eat the skins, which was horrifying, and then when I was done, she’d eat the fruit I’d left around the core. I thought something was wrong with her.

My mother dressed ugly too. She never got herself a decent looking pair of sneakers and her sweatpants were all faded. I never understood why she dressed so badly because she always bought me really cute, trendy outfits. She still had some awful velour sweatshirts from the 1970s and I’d pray she’d never show up at my school wearing one. If she did, God forbid, she’d probably be eating a burnt pizza crust and a peach pit.

My mother was so embarrassing.

Then one morning, recently, I finally got it. After eating my daughter’s unwanted toast crusts and a plum skin for breakfast, we went shopping. I needed new shoes for a wedding we were attending that weekend. Except, once we got to the mall I realized that my feet weren’t growing. It was just a party. No one was going to be looking at my feet. But the baby? She’d nearly outgrown all of her shoes and would be in a new size soon. She needed new shoes more than I did.

I considered a new sundress, but did I really need one? No. My little one was going to be in a size 2T soon and I wouldn’t have a thing that would fit her. I decided to wait and spend the money on her.

When we got home, we had lunch. She ate the fluffy tops of the broccoli and I realized I’d learned to love the tough stems. I peeled her a peach and sucked all the flesh from the pit while she ate the good parts. I wanted a graham cracker but there were only two left, so I decided that I didn’t really like graham crackers as much as I did when I was little anyway. Neither did my mom and that’s why she always let me have the last ones in the package too.

When you’re a parent, you don’t mind giving up the good parts. I don’t need a bunch of new stuff because I have all I need. I have my daughter and her happiness and I have a mother that I finally appreciate — a mother who once gave me all the good parts in hope that one day I’d grow up to be that kind of parent too.

~Victoria Fedden

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