During my last visit with my mother, she told me that she wanted me to have her waffle iron and then insisted that I pack it in my suitcase to take back with me on the plane. Two weeks later, my mother was gone and the waffle iron was still sitting in my suitcase.

Last weekend, Miguel asked me to make homemade waffles. I found a recipe in the Joy of Cooking, made the batter and plugged in the waffle iron. As I waited for it to warm up, I remembered the one time my mother used it when I was about 9 or 10 years old. It overflowed and I didn't get a single waffle out of the deal.

As I stood there pouring batter into that old waffle iron and hoping for the best, I wished I could call her up and tell her about the waffles, how perfectly golden brown they were and how the kids declared them to be the best they had ever had. Maybe we would laugh over her attempt at using it. Maybe she would tell me what I so desperately need to hear sometimes...that I don't have to be a perfect mother, just the best mother I can be.