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 Mother’s Day breakfast is freaking out. You’re doing a lot of that lately.
Relax. You can still save the mother of all days, even during a global pandemic. So regain your composure and wipe down the toilet seat. It’s Mother’s Day, after all; mom deserves a dry toilet seat.
They say the quickest way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach—although, technically, it’s through her sternum, but that requires a rib-spreader and an anesthesiologist (plus, no need to overload the health system at a time like this). Point is, breakfast makes a great last-minute gift: personal, handcrafted and most importantly you don’t have to wrap it. Except if you’re making breakfast burritos.
For starters, you’ll need eggs, cheese and bacon — everything’s better with bacon (except vegan tofu scramble; bacon totally destroys vegan tofu scramble). Let your wife sleep in while you check the refrigerator.
Now, if your shelter-in-place stockpile contains all three of these items, go ahead and Irish up your coffee. But chances are it won’t — your family consumes eggs, cheese and bacon like it was an IHOP franchise. In that event, maintain your sobriety, raid your secret stash of N95 respirator masks purchased last fall with the still-unrealized goal of re-insulating your crawlspace and head to the grocery store. As you plod the aisles hoping upon all hope you’ll actually find what you’re looking for, wave (from a safe, six-foot remove) at 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 serendipitous products you happened to discover at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday — this year’s hottest last-minute Mother’s Day gifts: Clorox wipes! — contemplate the reason for the season.
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 and passive-aggressive prodding to call more often.
Speaking of which, use the return ride to phone your own mom. Not only will this place a time limit on a conversation that would otherwise consume an hour with blow-by-blow updates on family members you’ve never even met before; sparing your wife a conversation with her mother-in-law may be the best Mother’s Day gift of all.
Once at home, break out the Carolan’s. If you’ve got a vape pen, hit it. And turn on some music. Not dad rock, or Top 40, or even “Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic,” which you and the kids can both agree on, but Mother’s Day music, like Natalie Merchant or Ani DiFranco. Try not to think about how the Indigo Girls are in their 50s now (for good measure, so are the living Beastie “Boys”).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit . Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, lay bacon in a single layer and bake until 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 treating finger splits with Krazy Glue.
At this point, the kids will grow inquisitive. After 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. Into each bowl, have them crack six eggs. Fish out all bits of shell. 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, Sharpie set and N95 masks. 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.
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, you’ve got 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. And maybe cut her in on the N95s.
• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday in Neighbors.