“Keep your chin up.” Mom used to tell me this. I didn’t like the saying much. First, I thought it sounded corny. Second, it’s an order and I’m not real fond of being told what to do. Know what? I haven’t heard Mom say that in a long time. I almost wish I would.
The tables have turned. Not that I employ that exact saying, but it’s my turn to be the encourager with Mom. It’s my turn to boost her up; to keep telling her to think positive.
This is Mom’s first Mother’s Day since suffering a series of mini strokes last November. It’s her first Mother’s Day in an assisted living apartment. It’s the first Mother’s Day that all of us kids won’t gather out at the farm to celebrate.
This is our new normal. This is how we do life now. Five of us siblings will gather in the “cow lounge” (what I call it because of the decorating motif) at Park View Center in Melrose. One sister came last weekend; another will come next weekend. Mom likes when we spread things out so she has someone’s company to look forward to each weekend.
I asked Mom what sounded good for our potluck plans. The only thing she could think of was Hawaiian Chicken Salad. That too is a switch. Not that our get-togethers revolved around the meal, but they kinda did. The food was definitely a highlight for all, especially Mom. And why not? She had paid her dues in her younger years; as she got older, us kids did more and more of the cooking. Our way of showing love was to prepare all of Mom’s favorites. It gets a little tricky now when she doesn’t have anywhere near the appetite nor the interest in food like she used to.
But, in honor of Mom, I’m making the rhubarb cake that she used to make. Actually, she made a lot of things rhubarb at this time of year, especially strawberry rhubarb sauce. This is an easy one, but really good, especially when you serve it still warm with a little Cool Whip on top.
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
3 TBSP red jello
1 yellow cake mix (mixed according to package directions with eggs, oil and water)
1 pint half & half
Mix together rhubarb, sugar and jello and set aside. Mix a yellow cake mix as directed on the box. Pour cake mix into greased 9 x 13” pan. Sprinkle the rhubarb mixture on top. Pour half & half over all and bake at 350 degrees 40 min. or until done. Serve with Cool Whip.