“Sure we can do that…after all, it’s a special day.”
I glanced to my right via an eye-roll, a grin tugging the corners of my mouth. She glanced my way, knowing what I was thinking.
Of course, today is a “special day.” When Ma (my children’s name for my mother) is here, every day is special. What this means is that when the kids ask for cookies, candy, ice-cream, or treats they often get it. If they ask to play a particular game, or visit a specific park, or watch three shows in a row, the answer is often “yes.”
And all because it’s a “special day.”
My mom takes wonderful care of our kiddos. She’s read to them since they were born, played with them in the floor, and taught them manners at the table. She’s a retired teacher, and even with her grands, she is constantly teaching.
But when those little ones lower their tiny chins and open their big blue eyes blinking slowly up at her, while entreating her with their heart’s desires, many times she indulges their requests.
While there have been moments through the years where I’ve given my mom a hard time regarding the “flexibility” she shows the kids, by in large, it’s something we laugh about. In fact, it’s become a running joke between us because as soon as she arrives, the “special” moments commence.
I’ve tried to explain to her many times that since she visits frequently, the kids really don’t need that many “special” days (translated to mean treats). She’ll often nod along and say something like, “I know, I know, that’s true.” But I know better than to think I’ve actually convinced her of anything.
My little girl graduated from Kindergarten today, and afterward, she asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A for milkshakes to celebrate. It was 9:00 a.m.
“Sure we can do that…after all it’s a special day,” was my mom’s immediate response, hence my eye-roll and head shake.
While others ate breakfast, my kids had milkshakes and then played on the playground while mom and I talked.
But here’s the thing. . . Today really was a special day.
This is the first time mom has seen the kids in almost four months. She’s been too sick to visit. She spent almost the entire month of March and a good portion of April in the hospital. Once home, she spent day after day receiving treatments.
That early March afternoon, when she was initially diagnosed, stands out vividly in my mind. Her doctor’s eyes were kind but serious when he said to me, “This type of cancer has a high mortality rate, especially early on. If we can keep her with us for the next 30 days or so, her chances improve significantly.”
Mortality rate? Chances? Was I really hearing this?
In those early days, I wondered if she’d be allowed the gift of making more memories with the kids. I wondered if we’d laugh and eat ice-cream. I wondered if she and the kids would cuddle up in the bed at nighttime and read books as is their custom when she visits.
I wondered if we’d have any more “special” days.
This morning, I rolled my eyes and shook my head in exasperation. But I drove to the restaurant, pulled into the parking space, and walked in with a heart full of gladness.
We enjoyed milkshakes. We watched the kids play. We laughed.
And it turns out like it often does with our parents…that my mom was right.
This. Right now. Today…is indeed a special day.