Last night mothers and daughters gathered at St. Peter's Church for the annual Mother – Daughter Dinner. Dads and men cooked, dished up, and served the meal, comprised of several courses. Garden Salad, fresh and tangy, a main dish comprised of a d'Poulet au Croissant, Sweet Corn Collage and fresh vegetables. Dessert was Velvet Chocolate Cake.
The service was astonishing. Plates were placed in front of each lady with a smile and attention to our every need.
Amidst the happy voices and drawings for prizes, talk went on about children and what it means to be a mother. Nudged, I shared a story about my own motherly experience with my youngest son, now advanced into college and a serious ball room dancer.
What do you think a mother is was the question. I learned the answer one morning in 1998 while driving my son to school after extracting him, belatedly, from bed. It was one of those dark and very damp days in Santa Barbara which the Chamber of Commerce does not admit happen.
I asked my son that very question. After a pause of around 90 seconds, he answered. “Why, Mom, you ought to know that. Just consider the spelling of the word and it is obvious.” He paused.
Huh? I spelled it out in my mind. Honestly, no lights went on.
Then, slowly spelling out each word in the acronymistic definition he had devised in such a short time, he patiently recited, “Multi-Operational-Tasking-Home &-Emergency-Resource.” Then he gave me a sleepy smile, clearly delighted with his own cleverness and also at having said, in such an unanticipated way, “I love you, Mother.” I was left both stunned and leaking tears.
It had been a tough few months for both of us. His older brother, Arthur, was still in a wheelchair, paralyzed from having shot himself through the brain in the wake of his motorcycle accident. I was just finding out what it meant to become a full time caretaker of one son, who was an adult, with this one still at home, upset and depressed, at the changes in his life which also included his father leaving me.
“Do you want to stop at MacDonalds?” I asked him. “Yes, please,” he responded, sitting up finally.
“Breakfast McMuffin, two hash browns and a large orange juice? “Yep.” Life goes on, bringing unexpected joys when you least expect it.