I have a secret. I’m not usually the type to toot my own horn; I’m only talking about it now because WordPress have asked me to. It’s an open secret, really, one that most mothers know about. I’ll probably be drummed out of the Ma-ternity once this gets out. I am what you would call a dyed in the wool Superheroine. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Apron Woman: faster than a falling toddler, more powerful than a venting teen, able to leap across the generation gap to diffuse potentially volatile situations. It’s Apron Woman. Olé.
Imelda Marcos had her shoes, I have my aprons: big ones, little ones, itsy bits frilly ones. Cupcakes and daisies, dots and spots, designer and vintage. You name the occasion and I’ve got the apron to match it. I’ve been collecting aprons for over four decades.
I’ve cooked and cleaned house while wearing them, I’ve wiped snotty noses, patched up grazed knees and presided over countless, ‘he did,’ ‘no, he did’, ‘it’s his fault’ scenarios and consoled heartbroken toddlers. I have advised, counseled and dispensed justice. The cupcakes were for ravenous teenagers, many did not know they had homes of their own till I pointed it out. The pink and white gingham aprons were for barbecues and family gatherings and the full length over the shoulder pull-ons were saved for serious situations.
People don’t know me without my apron.
It’s a bit like Superman without his glasses. How I used to laugh, particularly when I watched the television series with George Reeves. No one, not even the smitten Lois made the connection. One day, I took my apron off and once people got over the whole ‘wouldn’t have known it was you’ thing, they said, ‘you can’t. What will we do without you?’
‘I can’t,’ I agreed. ‘I can’t do it any more. I’d like to retire please. I need a break’.
‘Take a Sabbatical’, they said. ‘There could be a surprise for you when you return’. So I hung up the aprons and took a couple of short courses, discovered takeaway and gave myself the weekends off, had coffee with friends; and went off to the movies whenever the mood struck me.
That was the life, I refer to my life in the past tense, because there’s no retiring from this job. Parenting is like belonging to the Mafia. The Family can retire you, but you can never leave it of your own accord. Me and my aprons have been recalled to snotty nose duty. At least this time round I’m semi-retired, which means that I get the occasional day off for good behaviour.
Is there a moral to this story? Yes, there is. If you find yourself drawn to aprons – resist.