The day began with a sing-song recitation of Happy Birthday by my Dad and I, and the presentation of cards, four in all, for Mother, Daughter, Wife and Granny, one for every role she so faithfully fulfills 24/7. Needless to say, she was touched and over the moon! It didn’t matter that I bought every card and wrote it myself and had my Dad and Granny and son do the honors. Not to her and not to me 🙂
Then the phone calls began and with every call, the smile on her face became wider. I’ve watched my Mom’s smile disappear gradually over the years, to be replaced by a look of constant worry and the strain of nursing a sick child – Life was just too hard and happy moments, hard to come by. But thanks to my son, she is now rediscovering the lost art of the smiling 🙂 I told her of my lunch plans, keeping the Salon visit and surprise party, carefully secret! She had no clue – Mom is not suspicious by nature. She takes people at their word and believes the most far-fetched stories some have fed her 😉 always rising to their defense when they are caught out, a fact that irritates me every time, but proved invaluable in my own happy deception! Lesson learnt – Never underestimate stuff that bugs you! Store it away carefully for future use in tight situations 😛 You never know when it may come handy!
I took her to lunch at an old favorite of mine, a Chinese restaurant, Goenchin. It’s cozy setting was perfect for the intimate tête-à-tête I had in mind. Along with an excellent lunch we made small talk and had bits of serious conversation, about Dad, about the loss of my brother, about Life. I’ll be honest – I was really nervous about this whole day, particularly about spending all that time alone with my Mom! Uh huh! Silly as this may sound – I was scared and nervous about being alone with my Mom. I have good reason to be, given our history – I always screw things up in my inimitable way – saying the wrong thing, turning a discussion into an argument, being judgmental. I didn’t want to ruin this day that I had planned for her and I’m thankful and pretty proud of the fact, that I didn’t!
As lunch drew to a close and we were licking the last bit of ice-cream off our spoons, I revealed the next step of my plan – a visit to the Salon for some good old pampering of those tired fingers and toes! She was pleasantly surprised and watching her face light up – knowing that I made her feel special – that felt good, really good 🙂 So, off to the Salon we went and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! Mom has NEVER had a manicure or pedicure! She never bothered with that kind of thing when she was young and stunningly beautiful (beauty skips generations apparently 😉 although my brother was beautiful!) and never had time for it when she was older, so this was a real treat! It felt good to watch her unwind, as her tired feet were soaked in warm water, their fatigue massaged away by expert hands. In typical Mom fashion, she was initially embarrassed of the condition her hands and feet were in, but that was soon forgotten once the friendly staff began their administrations!
Back home from a well-spent afternoon, she couldn’t stop telling my Granny (who was in on the plan, of course!), how wonderful she felt and how thrilling it was to have a day out with her daughter in all these years. I couldn’t stop smiling either 🙂 She kept worrying about dinner and planning the menu, while Granny & I nodded and encouraged her flights of fancy, stealing amused glances at each other, across the room! At seven, the first guests began to arrive and Mom was in a panic, “What are we going to do! All these people and not a morsel of food in the house! We haven’t even started dinner yet! God help us!” That’s when I decided, to let her in on the final secret – a surprise party with close family, catered to perfection by her favorite caterer! She was unbelieving! She kept saying, “But you didn’t say a word! You didn’t TELL me!” And I kept saying, “That’s why it’s called Surprise, Mom!” It was a hilarious, wonderful evening, with good food and family and happiness all around! A memorable day, in the best possible way 🙂
All through the festivities, I felt my brother’s presence. I could feel his voice in my ear, comforting, whispering, quietly encouraging, “Good Job, Sis! You’re doing Marvelously! Stay cool now!” I know my Mom felt it too – she wears his ring now, on her finger, and she showed it to me on our way home from the Salon. “See, I always have him with me,” she said, “Both my children, close to me.” I can’t tell you how that made me feel, except to say that my eyes are tearing up as I type and my heart is full…full to the brim and overflowing with love and admiration and pride for my Mom and for the woman that she is.
It was the BEST day I’ve had in a long time and certainly the BEST day my Mom and I have shared in many many years. It brought us a tiny bit closer and gave me the confidence I needed to make this a regular event – ‘A Mother-Daughter” day out, once a month where we relax and enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company!
Love You Mom!
You Rock my World!
p.s. A big Thank-you to all of you who sent your love and wishes to Mom! You added to her happiness and thanks to you, she is now a little less resentful of all the time her daughter spends glued to the laptop screen 😉