I didn't leave home until 27. I was an only child raised in Philadelphia by my mother and grandmother. My grandmother controlled the stove. She made a lot of potato meals - mashed potato, potato souffle, potato pancakes. When we didn't have electricity, we ate romantically by candlelight.
Since my mother passed away, my father and I forged a bond that is so tighter than one could possibly imagine. Keep in mind, I am an only child, so I was always fiercely close with both my parents. The tragedy my father and I endured when my mother passed created a bond between us that no amount of force can break.
As a child, I saw my mother prepare for Christmas every year, and it never occurred to me that labor was involved. I thought it was my mother's joy and privilege to hang tinsel on the tree strand by strand, to make sure that every room in the house had a touch of Christmas, down to the Santa-themed rug and hand towels in the bathroom.