Apricots

Apricots have nothing to do with fertility but I’m in the lull between one cycle and the next so I’m going to make preserves. Who makes preserves anymore?

I do. Damn good ones I might add.

I have a secret. Mine contains about 70% less sugar than the ones you buy in the store. Why? Because if you add sugar, and wait, osmosis draws out the natural sugars from the fruit and you wind up with preserves that actually taste like fruit, preserves that hold their integrity, and don’t go bad any sooner than any other jams, jellies or preserves.

If you skim the extra syrup off the top when the preserves are boiling and put it in jars, you have syrup as well. For pancakes or crepes or french toast. The preserves can also be used in cookies, so throughout the year, when I’m baking I use preserves from my kitchen, and something about it makes me happy. Because I like to know what I’m feeding my family.

Apricots smell like summer to me. They look like tiny butts, and have that rosy blush on them. I love their colors, and I love how they look when they are all lovely and orange and golden in the jars when I’m finished. Like the summer sun.

There was a post recently that got a lot of responses, about birthdays. And the idea of being an “old” mother. That they were the child of older parents and because of that, grew up embarrassed of their parents. A lot of people commented, apparently its a fear a lot of women in their 30’s have.

I never wanted to be an “old” mom. If I am honest, the post and the comments really hurt my feelings. Because clearly lots of women in their 30’s blog about infertility, and so there are a whole group of you who support each other. Which is fantastic. But it made me feel isolated in my wish for a child because I am over 40. My own mother was 37 when she had me. She had my younger brother at 39. As a kid yes, there were times that my parents embarrassed me. But I’m sure it wasn’t because they were old, it was because I was a kid and parents are embarrassing when you’re trying to become more independent, especially in front of your friends.

My parents were born in 1935. They were depression era parents, meaning that they were born during the depression, remembered going without, so wasting food was not ok. I had 3 older brothers and sisters, so I never had a pair of shoes someone else hadn’t worn until I was 13. I had to share a room with at least one of my sisters until I was 14, because there were so many of us, and we varied in ages by a lot. My oldest sister is 13 years older than my youngest brother.

Every summer, my mother would take a few weeks and “put up fruit and vegetables” I learned how to “can” from her. I remember when she would do blackberries, and blueberries, the entire kitchen would be purple. She also did beans, tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, peaches and apricots. The mess used to drive me crazy, we didnt have a dishwasher. Plus its really hot work.

I don’t do all that. I do a little, and mostly I do it because it reminds me of good times with my mom. Because people like them, and I like to give them away.

I’ve had a bad week. In fact the last few months have been really, really hard. I try hard to keep busy, making things, doing something constructive. My embarrassing, old parents taught me that the best way to keep yourself out of trouble when things are bad is to keep your hands busy. To not allow your mind to be idle. To make an intention and toil toward the future.

Maybe its better to be young parent. Maybe. Or maybe the world would be a better place if we stopped judging ourselves and others by their age without knowing their circumstances. Did any of you love your parents less because of their age?

Somehow I’m betting the answer is no.

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8 comments on “Apricots

  1. Theresa says:

    Nope!

  2. queenelizabethi says:

    I’ve been trying to keep busy to keep my mind off of these things as well. Dammit, if we lived nearby we could do busywork together.

  3. Daryl says:

    I’m so sorry that my post made you feel bad. That is not what I intended. Like I said, it’s my personal hang-up and really has nothing to do with anyone else in particular, even my parents. How I perceived them when I was a kid and how I think about them now are two totally different things. I love the stories you’ve shared here about your family, and maybe it’s that perspective we get as we age that will make us better parents. I know the past couple of months have been hard, but don’t forget you have one beautiful blast waiting for you. It worked once, it can work again. Thinking of you always and sending hugs!

    • Jeanette says:

      Daryl, You have every single right to say whatever you want on your blog. And I understand it, I swear I do. This isnt what I wanted either. But its where I am. Its wehre you are. And luckily you still have a decade before you will become me. So many things can and will change between now and then. So many things you have to look forward to.

      That being said, your parcel was FINALLY mailed out today and I was told would arrive to you monday or tuesday. I didnt know it was your birthday or Id have sent it sooner. Thanks for your patience, your grace and your sweetness.

  4. News flash: ALL parents are embarrassing 🙂

    Although my own parents were a little older when they had me, I’m at the opposite end where many of my friends had so-called ‘young’ parents, and then many people in the small town I lived went on to be reeeally young parents. Frankly if that’s what you want to do then that’s great, but I definitely wouldn’t say that is a better option if we’re talking about being some certain type of parent. I personally felt it was important to me to become a well rounded person of my own before embarking on children so there was never a sense of ‘well I would have done x, y and z if I didn’t have children so early’. If that results in ‘older’ parents, then I don’t see how that can possibly be bad for a child.

    Of course this is possibly why so many of us are facing infertility challenges now, but there shouldn’t be guilt attached to that. You are going to be an AMAZING mum and age has jack to do with that!

    …And I am JEALOUS of your preserves!!!

  5. Jeanette says:

    Dear Violet,

    Please come live with me. Bring your husband I have room. Thank you so much and I will teach you in steps how to make jam if its really that important to you!

    All my love and hugs

    Jeanette

  6. April says:

    Nope. And I am dying to invest in some canning supplies so I can fill up my pantry like a Mormon on steroids! I was always envious of my stepmother’s year’s supply of food; that’s what taking care of my family means to me.

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