Every Sunday, I take my mother out to lunch. I haven't written anything about my mother yet, but I intend to, because if there are angels walking among us, she is one, and you should know! If I were to give you a quick summary, I'd tell you that I look back on her a as wacky and fearless woman, providing, in her day, daycare to as many as 10 babies at once in a 3 bedroom house, falling in love with every single one of them, and crying her eyes out when one moved away, or had to actually, say, go to kindergarten.
She is shyer now, still sweet, but anxious. She is beginning to lose her memory. It is little things; a word here and there, and numbers frustrate her: "8" is obvious, she knows, but how does she write the numeral "teen"? Medication helps, but she is just as comfortable handing over her checkbook and bills, to me and my sister, to ensure that everything remains in order. We do what we can to take over and ease her panic. In the meantime, she is otherwise functioning fine, and we rejoice in her company.
SUNDAYS ARE A TRIP! We go, most Sundays to the same small Mexican restaurant, in which the waiters yell "Hey, Mama" and give her hugs, pat her shoulder. After lunch, we determine which errands need running, or just head out shopping. I drag her to my favorite cafe late in the afternoon, where she often has a chance to meet a few of my friends. She's quiet, but adores them, and loves going there. She will notice who is missing, and say "it's not as fun without ____" there, though she rarely speaks to ____.
There's more, but you get the idea, right? She's sweet and sunny and naive, and she's been talking to 2-year-olds for the last 45 years, and she will crack you up! I am 42 years old, and she will still make me look at a train, a plane, or a cow, on every roadtrip we take.
When I called her yesterday morning, she was giddy. "I have some surprises for you!!!" she said. I could just HEAR her doing a jig. "What? What is my surprise?" I tried to trick her. "I don't know! I don't know what it is!" she giggled.
Yah, Ok. Par for the course, Mom, although I know something's in store for me. When I arrive, she hands me THE softest micro-fiber throw I have ever felt. She has gone with my sister and some girlfriends and had a blanket-buying frenzy, she must share the wealth, these things are so warm and soft. YAY, it is heavenly; she bought one for Brian also.
"What" then, "is the surprise you don't know?" I ask her. She pulled a gift-wrapped package out of her purse. She found this box, as you see, labeled, "Love, Mom and Dad." She has absolutely no recollection which year she forgot to put this under the tree.
Can you imagine?!! We both look at the box as if it were the Holy Grail! It could be a child's gift! Was it for my teen years? Was my son even born when this gift was purchased? We know only one thing: It was Christmas 2000 or earlier, as my father passed away in 2001.
And this is not lost on me: Unless Mom stumbles across a cornucopia of lost Christmas gifts, which isn't likely, it is the last gift I will ever open that is signed, "Love Mom and Dad."
It doesn't really matter what was in the box, then, does it?