Yesterday was Mother’s Day and my plan was to happily exhaust my mother for the whole day, or until she gave in.  I figured it would be the latter as she doesn’t last too long these days with ailments, weather and physical activity.

I went up to the lake early Saturday morning with three things on my Agenda for the day/night. 1)  Cut the lawn;  2) Finish the fire pit;  3) (I saved the best for last) Entertain friends at my house and christen the new fire pit.  Done, done and double done!  Everything played out quite well with a little time to spare before the evening festivities began.  I don’t prefer to be rushed on the weekends, but sometimes it’s all I’ve got and I’ll take a visit to My Happy Place over anything, even if it’s cut short.  I knew I’d have to leave early the next morning to spend the day with mom; and I knew I’d be totally exhausted in doing so, but it was well worth it and I just ramped up and made it happen.  I cooked enough food for the lake gang, just in case everyone showed up.  I always make enough food for everyone so no one ever feels left out.  I always want people to feel they can come over anytime and always enjoy the dish-of-the-day.  As always, a great time was had by all, even if the crowd was small.  They’re a good-looking couple, so in tune with each other, so tight.  They know each other so well, they know what the other will say before the other even says it.  They still twinkle when they look at each other.  They remind me of another couple at the lake.  So content, so peaceful, so complete, years and years of history in the making.  If you can’t be in it, it’s nice to be around it.

Sunday morning I’m up at 5 taking care of the dogs and last-minute clean up around the yard and house.  We have a 10:00 Mother’s Day brunch reservation and I need to get home, shower, dress, walk the dog and be ready to leave by 9:45.  With every bone in my tired body aching as I move to get out of bed, I am reminded of the day before and pleased that these aches and pains have something to show for it.  I look out my bedroom window to see the new fire pit and instantly grin at the memory of the night before.  Knocked back into reality by the dogs chomping at the bit to go potty, I get up and accommodate them and get their breakfast ready.  Coffee’s on, dogs fed, I start sizing up the house and yard for what needs to be done before I make the mad dash home and start the day… for the second time. I take a few seconds to check out the fire pit before I start putting chairs away, gathering up tennis balls, bottles, collars, leashes and remnants of a day well spent.

I race to meet my ETA of 8:30 and actually get home by 8:32.  Mom is waiting for me in the kitchen all dolled up.  She looked like a princess with jewelry around her neck, wrists, and hands. I made sure to tell her so.  Her outfit was adorable, her hair done up, face made up with her trademark ruby-red lipstick twice the size of her lips.  Most importantly she was smiling.  Not only did she look good, she felt good and it showed.   It was worth the rushing around to get there.  I wished her Happy Mother’s Day with wide open arms and went in for a kiss.  I could see her pull back a little because she was all cleaned up and pretty, and I was… well, not.  I was still carrying the odor of activities of the day and night prior.  My hair was a bird’s nest all piled high, yesterdays makeup was running down my face and I’m sure my rumpled clothes smelling like smoke from last night’s fire was anything but inviting as I went in for the hug.  I stopped short as I sensed her stiffening like a 2 x 4 in preparation of the gesture about to unfold.  I told her she looked pretty and left her to go shower.  Just before I climbed the stairs I glanced back at her in the kitchen… she was glowing and I knew it was going to be a good day.  After my shower I come down to find flowers and cards for mom and I from my son.  A beautiful balloon from his girlfriend adorns the chair and we both get teary eyed from the beautiful collection of cards.  My boy can write.  His words always bring me to tears.

Mom was coming off a tough week.  Our neighbor is dying and she’s only two years older than mom.  It’s a tough lesson in mortality watching your neighbor lie paralyzed in Hospice care.  Of course I bear the brunt of all this.  She hadn’t talked to me most of the week.  The few times I approached her and asked her why she was upset, she gave me a lame reason about the tiny side deck floor not being swept.  I left her alone and just made sure she was OK everyday as I stayed out of her way.  I hate it when she stops talking to me (you’d think I’d love it).  There are days I can see the fear in her face.  Other days I can feel the pain in her body.  I care for mom the best I can.  It’s a lesson in mortality for all of us.

At the stroke of 9:45, mom, my son and I all dressed and ready to go, head out for our Mother’s Day brunch.  We had a lovely time, ate a modest plate of breakfast food, even if all kinds of other foods were being offered, and then we left.  My mother kept insisting the host was Greek and had to be the owner.  As usual, her words of wisdom and knowledge kept my son and I highly entertained.  I was so proud of my son for putting up with his mother and grandmother.  He takes it all in stride, does what he has to do and stays in good graces always, even if it kills him.  Mom announced her feet were killing her and she’d like to stop home to change her shoes.  After a quick change of shoes, a quick bite for the dog, mom and I head out as Jeff prepared for his 2:00 softball game.  Mom and I spent several hours shopping and I could see her wearing down on the way home.  She needed to rest, but she wanted to play in the garden.  My dog was full of energy when we arrived home so I suggested mom rest while I hike the dog.  The weather had turned very hot and Lizzie joyfully spent time darting in and out of the water’s edge as we hiked along the trail.   A hurricane must have come through my house while I was hiking for my kitchen was a total disaster when I returned home.  Yes, Hurricane Mary had hit again.  I cleaned up the kitchen as mom’s footprints suggested mom was playing in the garden. I looked out to see her doing what she loves best, planting her seedlings.

Mom was overwhelmed with the cards, flowers and gifts from Jeff and I.  In fact, a friend of mine sent home a card and candy for mom as well.  Thoughtful, as always, he never forgets her.  Mom kept apologizing for not being able to find the Mother’s Day card she bought for me earlier in the week.  I couldn’t help but think of the irony of her buying me a card when she wasn’t even talking to me.  I told her not to worry about it.  She was adamant about it and finally I told her that a card didn’t really matter to me.  I made a sweeping gesture from her head to toe and told her This is what matter’s to meYou being happy and enjoying yourself.  Cards are very nice, but I will take you like this over a card any day.”  As she turned to go upstairs, I was sure I saw a happy tear roll down her cheek.  I opted to let it go because I knew if I said anything, she’d cry more and ruin her makeup.  She was cheerful the rest of the day, coming up and down, in and out, I was happy we were all having a good day.

As the day turned into night, I thought back of all the rocks I moved the day before.  I realized then, they were all just preparation for the mountain I would move on Mother’s Day.

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