I really miss my mother. And I'm surprised. She's been dead, after all, for 11 years, and our relationship was a complicated one for sure. So I've been touching this rediscovered scab, thinking about how it feel when I scratch certain parts, and I think I've figured out where it's coming from: This is the first Christmas where Peter and I will not see two of our three children. At all. And for the first time, I understand and feel in my very core my mother. I get why she was so (often annoyingly to me) needy at different points — "What do you mean you're not going to spend Mother's Day with me, Janet?" — and why she seemed so desperate at others. She saw the clock ticking and like that Salvador Dali clock knew her time was melting, ever so quickly.
It's not a comfortable place. While I intellectually understand the passing of the baton to the next generation — embrace it even in my most independent moments – around the holidays I want to be surrounded by my children. I don't have taken care of aging adults, I am acutely aware of the few years (God willing) we will all have in this new realm as equals on some level, a time to discover and enjoy new relationships as our parent/child paradigm shifts into something else. As a new grandmother, I am aware as well of the snap-your-fingers-and-it's-gone time to share in our little M's life.
So I think of my mother. I want to tell her "I get it." But I can't of course. Instead, I decided to make a favorite meal of hers and mine. While it's not complicated — what was in the suburban cooking of the '60s? — it does requiring thinking ahead because the chicken marinates overnight. I've served this meal to my children a few times, always thinking of my mother and how happy I was whenever she announced that sour cream chicken was for dinner. For now, that will have to do.
Sour Cream Chicken
Cover and marinate the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover and bake for about an hour until the chicken is done.