One of my favorite things to do with my children is to cook or bake with them. Something about working with them in the kitchen brings me back to my own childhood, and learning to cook with my own mother. I can close my eyes and picture myself in my childhood kitchen; I can see the gold-flecked white kitchen tabletop, the shiny copper-bottomed pots hanging on the avocado green pegboard, the gold-and-white fold-up stool that leaned against the wall until I needed it, the brick red block pattern of the linoleum. And I wonder if, twenty or thirty years from now, my children will be teaching their children to cook and thinking back to our round wooden table, our corner cabinet full of pots and pans, the black and white pattern of our kitchen tile.
My parents re-tiled their kitchen floor not long after I moved out, but in my minds’ eye, it will always be that brick red block pattern. That pattern was common enough that every now and then, I still stumble across a room somewhere – a friend’s house, a niece’s apartment, a church bathroom – that has the same linoleum pattern. And every time, I immediately flash back to an image of cooking with my mom in that kitchen. And suddenly, I feel very happy.
I hope that someday my children walk into a room patterned with black-and-white tiles and have a sudden memory of cooking with me in the kitchen. And I hope they smile.