When pressed about what she wanted to do for Mother’s Day, all Mom kept saying was, “Just a quiet day at home to relax would be nice . . .”
Silly, simple Mom! “A quiet day at home!” On Mother’s Day! Was she crazy?
We arrived early to her home, at a quarter past 6 am and whisked her a few hours away to Glacier’s Ravine National Park. The roads are really windy up in the hills, so, after having her prepare us a hearty breakfast before we all piled in the rented van to leave, Mom got pretty carsick. We had to stop three or four times for her to get out on the side of the road. You should have seen her all hunched over out there! Oh, Mom!
Finally we found a plastic Walmart bag on the side of the road and sat her in the back of the van with that so we could cease pulling over every other hill.
Once at the park, Mom asked if she could just sit in the sun and maybe take a nap. She loved the warmth, she kept reminding. Seriously, was she losing it?
“We didn’t drive all the way out here to sit around!” we chided her lovingly.
We pushed her along our hike, a treacherous five-mile affair, like an old pack mule. We knew later she would thank us for motivating her along. Sure, she’d be sore, but no more “sore” than she’d be knowing she had missed all the fetching views and the sense of accomplishment that came with them.
“I just wish it wasn’t so shady,” was the only thing she said. Of course, she might have said more that we didn’t hear for she was pretty far behind, perhaps a mile or two by the time we finished.
We yelled and yelled into the woods, tired of waiting back at the van for her. Finally, after an hour or so, she emerged alone, looking like more a part of the trail than a wanderer of it! “That was pretty dangerous, Mom, going off by yourself like that!” I scolded her. “I know you were enjoying yourself, but a bear could have gotten you in there.”
We asked her what she wanted to do then—it was her day after all—and she said her feet hurt and that going home would be just fine. Can you believe her? Even on her big day, so selfless, thinking we’d want to go home and sit around! Come on, Mom!
Luckily, we had another surprise in store for her! We hiked down a side-trail—literally pushing her along at this point!—to the Glacier’s Ravine Park Lake, one of the coldest spring-fed lakes in the world! We removed our pants and, SURPRISE, we all had our swim trunks on! The girls were in their swimsuits and us boys—me and Dad—were pale-legged excited.
Mom smiled and said, “You all are gonna freeze but it’ll be fun.”
Poor thing. She still had brambles in her hair as she plopped down to the dusty earth. She thought we had forgotten her.
“SURPRISE!” we yelled in unison. We had packed her swimsuit in the cooler! We gave her the suit—icy for its dealings with the drinks and fruit and lunch meat—and sent her out into the woods to change.
“HURRY UP, MOM!” we shouted after her.
“I think I fell in some poison ivy,” she called back. Silly Mom!
We had to drag her into the lake. She even cried on the way in, but we all knew they were tears of joys. There is nothing she loves more than family time, after all, and we knew she’d always remember this special Mother’s Day.
We didn’t swim long—the water was frightfully cold! Around 3 pm, we loaded back up and headed home. Mom tried to sleep on the way home, but we wouldn’t let her; we didn’t want her to miss a minute of her big day! In fact, the only way we could keep her up was to make her drive. She drove so well that we all ended up falling asleep–pretty ironic, huh!
Back at Mom and Dad’s place we surprised her again by coming inside with them: “We’re gonna spend the evening with you too!” we announced. The look on her face was priceless. At that moment all of us knew we were right in our decision not to get her any gifts this year; they would have been superfluous to the joy she had already been given by this special, special day!
We sent her to the kitchen right away, while we all showered and cleaned up, to prepare all of the family’s favorite dishes for dinner. It took her about two hours to finish everything–like she didn’t realize we were all famished or something! She was probably stalling in order to draw out the day. That Mom!
After dinner, we told her it was time for games, and this again brought on tears. The shock of this special day of bonding, well, it sent her into a state of weeping I haven’t seen from her since Grandma passed away. Talk about a Hallmark moment!
Finally, we got her calmed down by allowing her to serve us all ice cream, and she admitted she would play if we all agreed to form teams and play her favorite game: Scrabble.
Instead we played Charades—a better game for a lively group on a festive occasion—and Mom played right along at our insistence, although, let’s be honest, her clues were pretty lackluster. No wonder she wanted to play Scrabble!
We kissed her on her shoulder when we left—her face, hands, and arms being un-kiss-ably pink from what we were pretty certain was a bad dose of poison ivy. “Happy Mother’s Day,” we offered jubilantly and—what do you know!—she broke down and cried again.
We had given her the day of her life, and, really, it felt pretty good. After all she had given us, really, it was the least we could do.