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Mom and I are bonding at last
Patty Leon

Bonding! We are bonding!

And by we, I mean Mom and I, of course, as we are the only two people in the house (there are plenty of pets with us to bond with as well, but I digress).

That’s a big thing! HUGE. MASSIVE!

Why you ask?

Well let’s just say Mom and I have always butt heads, not because we are so different but because we are both somewhat alike and stubborn. There is a reason I left home at 17 (More like Mom said get out of here if you aren’t going to live by my rules. And I wasn’t going to…so bye Felicia).

But that whole scenario is a story for another day (Not a story really, more like a Spanish Novela and I’m not done writing it - yet).

But SEVERAL YEARS LATER…and here we are. Alone together since Dad’s passing and thanks to COVID pretty much isolated from others to keep each other safe.

We’ve developed our routines. Certain nights where we watch movies together. Other nights we binge watch a couple of episodes of Bates Motel on Netflix (Mom liked Freddie Hightower from the Good Doctor. I told her about his role as the young version of Norman Bates and viola – we’re watching the five seasons). Sunday night is a must watch of America’s Funniest Videos and Worst Cooks in America.

We laugh together, cook together, cry together and eat together. At the end of the night I tuck her into bed, tell her goodnight and listen as she says her nightly prayer.

And we garden together. Well I do the gardening and she watches me tend to her plants and our front porch veggie and herb garden. She can’t do it anymore and enjoys me taking over the job Dad did when he grew veggies in the backyard.

Let me share with you all another bonding moment, one quite painful to me, still.

The other day I started picking all the Cayenne Peppers that sprouted from our front porch garden. I watched as the tiny peppers grew bright green and then slowly turn a dark shade of red. I carefully picked the red ones, washed them and decided to start seeding them and dicing them so that Mom and I can use a small amount for “heat” in some of our recipes.

I got a small Tupperware container out, a sharp knife and the cutting board. I started cutting the tops off and then slicing them lengthwise down the center to remove the seeds.


The strong odor of the peppers was potent, so I knew that meant the heat factor was going to be intense.

“Okay Mom, when we use this just a small pinch will do.”

I removed all the seeds, diced the peppers placed them in the container and into the fridge. I washed the knife, cutting boards and my hands – TWICE!

While doing so I could still smell the peppers. The heat scent permeated my nostrils and went down my throat.


“What’s wrong? You got that COVID?”

“No Mom that pepper went up my nose and down my throat.”

“I know I was just kidding,” Mom said. “I’m in the living room and can smell those peppers from here.”

I drank some water, finished washing my hands and sat down at my computer to get some work done. About ten minutes later my fingertips felt like they were on fire. The heat intensified and soon my hands were smoldering.

“Holy poop now my hands are on fire and I washed my hands twice,” I said to mom.

“Well it’s a good thing you didn’t touch your face or eyes,” Mom said.

“Oh No!” I said. “I think I did.”

Sure enough, a bit later my cheek felt like someone was holding a Tiki torch next to it and my right eye started to water and burn.

The intense burning sensation seemed to have lasted forever. No amount of water or milk put out the fire.

“Next time you should wear gloves to cut those things,” Mom said.

“You think?” was the best snarky reply I could muster during my pain.

Then we both bust out laughing.

It’s not all a bed of roses. There are days where I know I get on her nerves and she on mine but its so much different now.

One day I’ll share with you all what caused the MAJOR rift between Mom and I causing me to bolt out the door.  Five years would pass before I spoke to anyone in my immediate family. But for now, we are both in a good place, at least as best a place we could be during all this madnessknown as 2020.

Patty Leon, Senior Editor

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