Monday, May 16, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Last weekend was Mother's Day, and we decided to host the family at our house for lunch rather than fight the crowds at a restaurant. Around the table sat 4 mothers: Beth (my grandmother-in-law), Melinda (my mother-in-law), my mom, and me, as well as my dad, brother and sister-in-law, sister, and Jeffrey and the boys. 

Hosting a dinner comes with both pros and cons--for me, the prep work is somewhat difficult but still part of the fun. The only real downside in my opinion is the dishes afterward. But among the pros are getting to set the table with your finest china, arranging your favorite flowers, and being in charge of the organized activities. For my guests on Sunday, this meant that each one was obliged to share a funny or happy memory of his/her mom. 

Beth told about a time after she and her mom had picked her wedding veil. After what must have been a very proper afternoon in a bridal shop, her mom took a big drink of scalding hot coffee, and spit it right back out all over, saying (uncharacteristically and without apology), "Well some fools would've swallowed it!"

Leslie told about shopping for work clothes for her first 'real' job and also about one of the times she got a kidney stone on a previous Mother's Day. Leslie was feeling guilty for her health concern ruining what should have been a day to celebrate Mom. As they drove to the ER together, Leslie apologized for spoiling the day, and Mom just looked at her and said, "Leslie, this is great. This is me getting to be a mom!"

My brother, always the joker, told about the time in grade school when he was being picked on by another boy at school. After many days of enduring these insults and Mom recommending that he turn the other cheek, one day she said (uncharacteristically and without apology), "Well tell him he's a fat tub of lard." Bullying problem solved. 

Of course, I tried to take to heart the lesson learned from Beth and Greg's stories: a mother can spend her entire life saying and doing the right things, and her children will most vividly remember the single moment they slip!

Courtney admired her mom's commitment to consistency in parenting her and her twin sister, even to the point of fishing them out from underneath the bed with a yardstick to mete out (well-deserved) punishments. 

Jeffrey said that he didn't realize what a big deal it was at the time, but his mom was always present at his sporting events. In all weather, she drug herself and her two other children (one of whom has special needs) to cheer for Jeffrey as he competed. 

I told about the time Mom and I drove to my dental school interview in Houston together, Dad's directions getting us lost deep in a shady part of town at night. When the low fuel light turned on and we were forced to stop, Mom looked over at me and said, "If you hear gunshots, just go on without me. Even if you have to speed bump over my body, you get to that interview." (We both made it out alive.)

Mom talked about the special effort her mother made for her preferences with food and drink, making special arrangements for my moms likes and dislikes. She also shared how her mom literally ran to her rescue once when mom was injured. She could even recall what her mom was wearing that day as she sprinted up to the house to help her. 

Dad laughed as he recalled how his mom has always found slapstick comedy the most laugh-inducing, so one day when they were snow skiing, Dad noticed a particularly icy area around a curve where people were continually falling down. He called his mom over and they both watched as the next dozen or so people wiped out, and laughed and laughed together. 

Melinda said that she always felt like the 'favorite' child, although now she suspects that all three of Beth's children felt that way. One of the things that always made her feel special was that her mom always left her 15 cents in her office for Melinda to use to buy a coke and candy bar (amazing that 15 cents had that kind of purchasing power not too long ago!). 

It was a lovely lunch and a sweet time to talk about memories made with our mothers. I was honored to be a part of it. 

(And my mom even did the dishes!)