Week Thirty-Five: “Meeting Mom”

This is my mom.

YWAP - mom3

She is an absolutely beautiful woman, inside and out. Five-foot-two and full of spunk. Just over forty years ago she was a much larger version of herself, all on account of yours truly.  You see, she gained so much weight carrying me that the doctor was afraid it might make for a troublesome delivery.  He would constantly caution her against consuming too much unhealthy food.  My mother would always listen closely to his advice.  Then, upon exiting the office, she would promptly hit the A&W drive-in for a burger, fries and a large chocolate milkshake.

Prenatal prevention of post-partum depression, I guess.

I was born at 3:53 pm on June 8th, 1973.  Dad wasn’t around.  He was busy moving the car to avoid paying a parking ticket when his time was to expire at 4pm.  Mom, however, was present during the entire ordeal.  When I finally came bursting forth into this world, I weighed a whopping 9 pounds and 4 ounces.  Upon seeing my chubby, angelic face for the first time, my mother’s loving response was,

“See doc, I told you I wasn’t a lard ass!”

She had me at “lard ass.”

I have loved this woman my entire life.  While dad has taught me the value of a job well done and the gift of storytelling, mom has taught me all about the twin joys of spontaneity and compassion.  I will never be able to repay her for all she has given me.

But once a year, I try.

They call it Mother’s Day.  Back in May, I was wracking my brain, trying to decide what to get the woman who gave me life.  In the Year Without A Purchase, “stuff” gifts are off the table.  No small kitchen appliances or home décor.  I do have a stash of makeshift science experiment kits – Mentos and 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke – that we’ve been giving as gifts to the kid’s friends for birthday parties.  But mom has been there and done that.

I contemplated creating some original artwork or handicraft for her, but my skills have scarcely improved since the last time I fashioned her a macaroni necklace back in the third grade.  And today, I’m afraid mom would rather cook such an item as wear it. In fact, I suspect that’s what happened with the original.

Then I remembered that our YWAP rules permit us to give “experience” gifts.  So I thought, “How about a nice lunch date with Mom?”

To be a suitable experience gift, we would have to go to one of Mom’s favorite places.  That meant no Buffalo Wild Wings or any other establishment featuring large screens showing sports.

So, last week, I met mom at the Cottage Café.

The Cottage Café is not exactly my style.  Sure, I may not be the most manly guy on the planet.  My love of televised sports and mastery in the art of flatulence is far outweighed by my ability to joyously demonstrate “Jazz Hands” and my intimate knowledge of color palettes.

I’m an autumn, for those scoring at home.

But the Cottage Café may be the girliest restaurant on the face of the earth.  The place makes me look like a professional wrestler.  It’s covered in lace doilies and filled with scented candles and household knick-nacks.  At the door, they do a quick blood screen.  Those measuring high in testosterone are given a fanny pack shaped like a uterus.  All the animals on the menu are given a complete facial and pedicure before becoming a key ingredient in my tiny, girl-portion-sized sandwich.  Those caught talking about football are strapped to a chair Clockwork-Orange-style and forced to watch the Lifetime channel.

I’m telling you.  It’s that girly.  But the food is amazing and Mom loves it.

On the day of our date, I met her in the parking lot.  She gave me a hug and we walked together into the restaurant.  We gave our name to the hostess and waited for a table.  The place was packed!  I glanced around and noticed two other guys in the restaurant, but I was the only male under the age of 65.  I suspect the other fellas were former electricians slowly losing their hearing.  When their wives said “Cottage Café,” they heard “Wattage Delay” and came running.  Now they were draped in gingham napkins eating pimento cheese crackers and wondering why no one’s asking them to fix the wiring.

But the Cottage Café’s pimento cheese will do that to a guy. They bring you a plate of it as a complimentary appetizer.  It’s so good it’ll make you forget anything you were worried about before.

Kinda’ like Mom.

Once we were seated, time just stopped.  You see, it had been a while since I had talked to my Mom.  Sure, we get to spend time together now and again.  But usually we’re surrounded by lots of other people.  Or kids.  Or meals to prepare.  So four hours at a family party becomes only five minutes of actual contact time.  The rest is spent mopping spills, filling plates, cutting food, and cleaning up.

But this was different.

It was an honest-to-goodness talk.  No distractions.  No agendas.  Uninterrupted conversation as beautiful and sublime as uninterrupted sleep.  The depth of it leaves you feeling so refreshed that you feel like you can tackle all of the world’s problems with a smile on your face.

We ate crackers while reminiscing about childhood.  I picked from her salad while we discussed the issues of the day.  We contemplated dessert as mom shared with me her thoughts on her future with my Dad.  Where they might live.  Where they might go.

And two hours passed.

I never noticed that tables turned several times as we savored our time together. People coming and going while we sat still.  In some ways, it was like we were getting reacquainted.  She was getting to know the man that grew from the little boy that cluttered her house for nearly twenty years.  And I was getting to know the genuine, flesh-and-blood woman that lives underneath the SuperMom cape she wore during my youth.

And I think we like each other.

People say it’s hard to make new friends later in life.  I say that’s a bunch of bunk.  New friends are right around the corner, just waiting to be rediscovered.

So, next time you’re stressing about what to buy the woman who has everything, take her to lunch instead.

You never know who you might meet.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Week Thirty-Five: “Meeting Mom”

  1. Lisa

    There’s nothing better than lunch with Mom! I sure miss mine!

  2. Janet Tudor

    You’ve done it again, Scott, and made my heart sing!

  3. mom

    I cnt evn typ a respns becuz there are tears all over my keyboard. luv u scotty

  4. Tiz

    Aww. That was truly sweet. (I could make a crack about “so many teeth”, but I don’t want to distract from the sweetness of this!)

  5. Dori Dibble

    Way to go!!! Huge smile on my face and tears at the same time! ❤

  6. Chris

    Love, love, love both of you so much. Can’t imagine life without either one of you;) Simply the best–yet again Scott.

  7. Experience gifts are the best gifts to share. Everyone wins. Reading this was a great way to start my day! Thanks!

  8. Kathie

    Scott, you are truly a gift from God. But I am not surprised. You have some truly amazing parents.

  9. Great read and it makes me look at the mom I am to my kids…do we really know each other. Oh…I also love the Cottage Cafe in Bellevue!

  10. You all are far too kind. Moms are awesome.

  11. Jackie Anas

    Just beautiful and you are a true wordsmith. I really laughed as I read about the restaurant. My husband would call it “women’s food!” Take care. You sound like a great son!

  12. Shannon King

    She hasn’t aged since 6th grade. Love this one! Why do I have such a clear picture of an 11 year-old version of you excitedly doing jazz hands long before Bring It On was ever a movie?

  13. MeMe

    Thanks for sharing this! I can truly relate to the family gatherings that never afford my son and I the time to just sit and visit. Love my grandkids & his lovely wife…but miss our mother/son talks. However, just last week we had a precious hour to ourselves…albeit on the phone…but the result was a powerful renewal of who we are, and the passions that we share. A priceless experience!
    By the way, “an experience” is what we gift each of our grandkids with on their birthdays! Which reminds me…I have a date with an adventurous 8 yr. old and a roller coaster next week!!!! Prayers please!

    • Thanks for sharing your story here. I am totally on-board with your “experience gifts”. It’s one of the biggest lessons we learned from our year without a purchase. And today, doing some research for the book, I found *surprise* that science is getting in on the act, showing how experiences actually make us happier than possessions.

      Enjoy your date with the 8 yr. old! Sure to be a lot of fun! And thanks for reading.

  14. One of my favorites Scott. Yep our mom ROCKS.

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