Some days I'm overcome with how lucky I am to be a mother. Today was one of them.
It's like these people, all big and gangly, with long arms and facial hair, glasses and opinions, senses of humor and ideas you never taught them, suddenly surround you to give you gifts and say they love you. And the whole time I'm caught between remembering Liam's soft curly red hair that I used to tuck under my chin when I'd rock him in the rocker and the very real presence of the now 13 year old boy who went to see Tegan and Sarah, his favorite band, on Friday night at the local club called, I kid you not, Bogart's!
I can see why grandparents spend so much time with tears in their eyes. It's hard to take it all in!
We have a Mother's Day ritual. We go to this wonderful little restaurant called, "The Grand Finale." It's in a classically old Cincinnati house in a quaint suburb. The atmosphere is a little crowded, with old wood tables and rickety chairs, flowered wallpaper that has that 1930s feel and big windows with panes and pansies in little boxes.
GF is known for its delicious food (most of it French style cuisine - my fave): little quiches, spinach crepes, chicken livers (I know - most people hate them but I love them), mushrooms, artichoke hearts with eggs on top and hollandaise, fresh fruit salad, bread pudding with hard tack sauce... that kind of thing. Jon tried to order mimosas and was reminded again of how retro Ohio is... no alcohol served before 1 p.m. on Sundays. :)
Jon and Liam got up early to stake out a place in line as there are no reservations, and waited two hours in the rain to secure a table in the first seating! Talk about love.
I picked up Noah from downtown. It poured dangerous rain the whole way on the freeway, and I swear I thought I might die today - almost swerved off the road a couple times, had a car nearly lose control in front of me, and finally came up far too quickly on stopped traffic to a fallen tree that crossed four lanes! Noah and I had a great chat about linguistics, the Swedish prog metal band called "Plan of Salvation" and his girlfriend. He's an awesome person. Never a shortage of good stuff to talk about with Noah.
We all arrived at the restaurant in three cars: Jon and Liam went ahead, Caitrin and Jacob came next, and then Noah and I. With the price of gas, you'd think we could manage to drive together. :)
Johannah was missed but we sent her text pix with messages and she texted back. She's in NYC with the humanities scholars and they are doing it all, like going to the Met and seeing Phantom on Broadway.
Gifts were of the jewelry variety this year: Liam gave me adorable cardinal bird earrings - one male and one female. Caitrin and Jacob each gave me sterling silver bracelets (one says mere mother madre and the other has little discs that say things like luck, health, wealth, love, joy etc. with the Chinese character on the back). Jon added to my bracelet of troll beads. Johannah had sent ahead a calendar from Amnesty Int'l. and Noah brought himself, which is about all he can afford, I have a hunch. :)
The kids did most of the talking, bantering back and forth, inside jokes, shared interests, news I hadn't heard, playful teasing. I moved into that happy "sit back and enjoy" mode which I so cherish now. E. M. Forster once wrote in A Room with a View that Mr. Emerson always thought it a treat when other people could meet his son. I felt that way today... only it was I who was being treated to the pleasure of their company!
And I reflected: this is the pay-off for all those years of juggling little ones, chasing toddlers and nagging middlers to use their forks and not their hands.
One of those days I feel so good about... so glad to have great kids and a happy family. That's what I've always wanted.