Polish Pride

Sis and bro

They are just stuffed dumplings. Stupid, yummy, stuffed little pockets of Polish goodness. That’s all.

But this week when it came time to sign up for our school’s multi-cultural Thanksgiving Day feast my kids were adamant I make pierogi. They must have them. This was their heritage and what they wanted on that table as kids and parents and teachers pass by and fill their plates with everything from gumbo to lasagna to kimchi.

Their Mom’s pierogi’s must be there.

So I spent the week dreading how to figure out getting treatment for Lupus, juggling regular life, and spending what always ends up being hours putting together pierogi’s for the family.

I set the kids’ expectations low all week-long.

Mom might not be able to do it guys. I have treatment this week and you know how tired I get. I might just need to bring those frozen ones they sell at the grocery store. I might just bring paper plates and cups- the school really needs those too. I just might not have the energy to take you to the movies and make pierogi.

This went on and on.

And then this morning, on the way to school, in a quiet voice from the very back seat comes…

Mom, I know you are tired from treatment, so how about you show me how to make the pierogis and Hala and I will do it for you. We can do it Mom. You can just watch and show us how. Remember that one time we helped you put the meat inside? And sealed them with that water? We can do that Mom. I know we can. Then you can rest and everyone will get to taste our family’s recipe.

Oh holy heartbreak. Only my son could reach in and rip that heart like no other.

Then my daughter chimes in:

Yeah Mom! We can do it! I can stir and Jack can do the part with oven because I’m not allowed.

And then, before I could say a word, the two of them spent the rest of the ride to school plotting exactly how they were going to make three dozen pierogi for their school’s feast.

So I am headed to the doctor now, and on my way home I will pick up what is needed. I will also pick up another pack of those frozen, store-bought ones. Just in case.

I want to make these for them so badly. I want to be a normal mother who can whip up a dish for their school functions just like every other mother on earth. But no, I have to be the Mom with limits. The one who also wants to take them to the movies tonight and knows there is no way she can do both, because her body just won’t allow such extravagances.

But if nothing else, I have the most loving kids ever who decided they would rather help Mom than play their video games or run around on their scooters -all so that their family was represented at that school feast table.

I hate that they have to help me if we want to get this done, but I love that it was their idea to pitch in and make it happen.


  1. I like that it was their idea, too. You’re doing a great job. And don’t sell yourself short, making comparisons to “every other mother on earth”. Because I’m in that category and I can’t get shit done even w/out Lupus. Being limited by illness of course just makes all you want to do that much harder (yet I think we all as mothers will always have more we want to be able to do. I’m sorry that Lupus steals the ability to actually do it from you).

  2. If you can teach them how to make them, then it’s a win-win. They’ll be able to say that their mom taught them all about their heritage *and* how to cook. Plus, you won’t be quite as tired (I hope).

    And just so you don’t forget, you’re a GREAT mom. You’ve taught your kids compassion and they have their priorities straight. They’d rather you feel good than have the pierogis… but they’d like to figure out how to do both.

  3. Let them take charge. The memory of their teamwork will eclipse the memory of why it happened in the first place.

  4. Good kids. Good mama.

  5. I read this on my phone yesterday while waiting for a friend to arrive for our lunch date.

    By the time she showed up, I was crying.

    Thanks, Erin. Thanks a lot.

    P.S. And I mean that! 🙂

  6. Rachael Macry says:

    Dang, now I want pierogi. I’ve only ever had the store bought kind… potato is my favorite, and sad for me, fried is my favorite way to do those. Fried plus dumpling plus potatoes.. nom nom nom nom.

    I bet yours are just delicious!

  7. So… this post definitely had me crying. =) Kids are amazing when it comes to showing their love.

  8. You have some great kids. Let us know how it went.

  9. As a Polish mama who knows how long it takes to make pierogi, I salute you and yours.

  10. I thought we had children for the sole purpose of having pierogi making minions. I also make my kids roll the meatballs for italian wedding soup.

  11. Your kids are SOLID GOLD.

    As are you.

    xxoo Cyn

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