Mangoes and Memories

I slice the knife down the side of the mango. A big piece falls away, and I repeat the action on the other side. Thanks to my brilliant sister-in-law, Eunice, I slash a crisscross grid into each piece. I then open it up like a flower and cut away bite-sized pieces. The best, meatiest parts of the mango go onto a plate, and I give them away.

Alec grabs the plate and greedily devours the orange bites. He loves mangoes. As I watch him, I eat the scraps from the stone and the skin. It isn’t much compared to Alec’s portion, but it is enough. It is more than enough as that first bite brings on memories of an ungrateful child who never fully appreciated the sacrifices of his mother.

I always watched my mother give me the best portions. I watched her cut away at the mango and give me all I wanted. She took whatever was leftover. I didn’t appreciate it then. I just ate the mango like it was a part of my birthright. She worked long hours to pay the bills, ensure I had clothes, and put food on the table. This too was lost on me. I could only see the things I did not have. I was a foolish child, selfish, and unappreciative of those who had me in their best interest.

I cut the mango out of instinct. Without even thinking, I give away the best portion. What I saw forty years ago is what I do today,  because somebody else, my mother, gave me the best portion. It was her sacrifices that molded me into who I am today. I watch my son eat the mango, and I pray that he remembers these days when he passes the mango on to his children. This is what we do. We give the best portion to those who will go after us, to prepare them for the future.

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