Because you suddenly realize midway through your morning pee that you and the kids totally spaced on Mother’s Day — again — the first step in making a perfect Mother’s Day breakfast is freaking out.
Relax. You can still save the mother of all days without resorting to gas station flowers. So regain your composure and wipe down the toilet seat. It’s Mother’s Day, after all; mom deserves a dry toilet seat.
This morning you’ll honor the woman who bore your children with breakfast. They say the quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach — although, technically, it’s through her thorax, provided you have a rib-spreader and an anesthesiologist. Point is, breakfast makes a great gift: personal, handcrafted and most importantly you don’t have to wrap it. Well, unless you’re making breakfast burritos.
Plus, as far as cooking goes, breakfast is pretty foolproof. Good thing, because your recipe calls for two school-aged “helpers,” as well as several Irish coffees.
For starters, you’ll need eggs, cheese and bacon — everything’s better with bacon (except vegan tofu scramble; bacon kills vegan tofu scramble). Let your wife sleep in while you check the refrigerator. Clear away all the brown avocados, liquefying kale and ¼-full salsa jars (but don’t throw those away; just shove them into a back corner for her to contend with next month when she tries to salvage her own Father’s Day fail).
Now, if you find what you’re looking for — and you may; you shop at Costco after all — score! Go ahead and Irish-up that coffee. But there’s a good chance you won’t — your family consumes eggs, cheese and bacon like it was a Denny’s franchise. In that event, maintain your sobriety, pack the kids into your sensible crossover SUV and head to Fred Meyer. As you plod the aisles in your pajama pants and hoodie chanting “no … no … put it back; no … no … put it back,” nod knowingly at all the other bleary-eyed dads doing the exact same thing. You’re in this together, gentlemen. You did it to yourselves.
Driving home with the ingredients, plus whatever random junk your kids successfully hounded you into purchasing as their 11th-hour Mother’s Day gifts — last year it was a Super Mario Brothers body pillow and a hot glue gun — explain that there’s more to Mother’s Day than white wine and guilt.
Today, we honor the women who gave us life (and mom jeans). Originated by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and officially designated by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, modern Mother’s Day traditions include greeting cards, flowers, family gatherings and passive-aggressive prodding to earn more money, call more often and be more like your cousin Zach, who also marches to his own drummer, but didn’t need to move all the way to Alaska to do it.
Speaking of which, use the return ride to phone Grammy on speaker. Not only will this put a time limit on a conversation that would otherwise consume an hour with blow-by-blow medical updates and the latest scuttlebutt with the condo association women’s club, but sparing your wife a conversation with your mom may be the best Mother’s Day gift of all.
Once you and the kids are home, create a diversion by handing out donuts. See, your parenting style makes ample use of the “carrot-and-the-stick” technique; your carrots tend to be glazed, frosted and/or cream-filled.
Find the Carolan’s and Bushmills. If you’ve got a vape pen, hit it. And turn on some music. Not your usual dad rock, or the kids’ beloved Top 40, or even “Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic,” which you can both agree on, but Mother’s Day music, like Natalie Merchant or the Indigo Girls. Try not to think about how the “Girls” are in their mid-50s now.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, lay bacon in a single layer and bake until golden-brown and crispy, 15-20 minutes. Big batch, zero flipping, no burning the bacon or yourself (use an oven mitt, hoss) … this bacon cooking method remains your favorite life hack. Well, aside from losing frozen tire lugs with a Mag torch.
At this point, the kids will be done with their carrot-donuts. After potty break (hopefully just number one) — and well-supervised hand washing — set up each child with a mixing bowl and spoon. Expect them to switch rigs several times before achieving mutually acceptability. Purell and towel on stand-by, into each bowl have them crack six eggs. Fish out all bits of shell (hence, the Purell and towel). Combine eggs with a splash of half-n-half, salt and pepper to taste and cheese — cheddar, parmesan, maybe even a little feta, if you’re feeling international.
Pour second Irish coffee.
Reach into the chaos of pots and pans you call your cabinet until you find two frying pans and spatulas, but not your awesome extra long metal spatula; that tool you squirrel away with your stapler, good scissors and Sharpie set. Melt two tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat. Have each child pour egg mixture into respective cooking stations and gently — GENTLY! — stir, continuously for 5-10 minutes, until desired firmness. Remind them of Dad’s First Rule of Cooking: food stays in the pan.
Take these moments to appreciate all the noteworthy mothers of the world: Mother Goose, Old Mother Hubbard — now there’s a celebrity death match you’d love to see — Mother Nature, Mother Jones, “Octomom.” Of course, being married with children, there are two mothers in your life, now … and your wife just loves it when you call her “mommy.” Especially in bed.
Point is, you actually found a woman willing to procreate with you. The least you can do is cook her breakfast.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday.