My mama can be so stinkin’ funny and not even mean to be. She is typically so calm, quiet and sweet that you’d never expect these hilarious one liners to come from her. But every now and then, she’ll zing you.
Before I get to the zing (it’s at the end and worth the wait – promise), let me explain more about my hero mother and our recent trip to celebrate all she’s been through. My sister Michelle and I recently met up in Charleston, SC and then took a trip together to the Columbia, SC area to see our parents. It was a highly anticipated celebratory excursion because mom has been through heck and back. In 2016, one year after our youngest sister passed away (so many tears and a story for another time), mom was in a serious car accident. In all honesty, mama shouldn’t even be here. Her neck was broken. (C2 to be exact.) She also had a shattered ankle and significant internal injuries. It’s a miracle she survived. (By the way, the accident was NOT her fault and we may or may not be bitter about the impaired driver that hit her head on. I guess that’s another story too!)
For mom, the years that followed involved severe pain, multiple surgical procedures, difficult recoveries from each one, never-ending physical therapy and lots of mental anguish. Not just on her, but also on our father who cares for her every need. Mom hasn’t regained all her strength and abilities, but she’s come so far and is one tough cookie. Now that she had graduated from physical therapy again – this time post back surgery (her 4th), Michelle and I were going to take her to do all her favorite things. It was time to celebrate – and in a big way!
The three of us started the trip with a visit to Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway, SC. A reservation for high tea at this quaint, long time favorite place was the perfect kick off to our festivus to honor mom. She loves all things tea and tea pots. We sat at the coveted table in the window and enjoyed the endless girly goodies. It was perfect. We followed up our tea time with antique shopping. We actually stopped traffic for mom to cross the road. (#ofcoursewedid) It’s mom.
The next day, we took mom for a manicure and then…shopping. This is what we taunted her with during hospital stays and physical therapy sessions. “Come on mom. You’ve got this! If you don’t do this, we can’t go shopping.” She had seriously earned this trip for no other reason than putting up with us. Scouring the ladies department, we had a system for acquiring the right sizes, trying things on, and swapping things out. I’m sure there is store security cam footage of the whole production we were orchestrating. We were on a mission. She was getting an entirely new wardrobe. She deserved all the things. It’s mom.
Epic shopping spree complete, we got iced teas in the drive through – another mom favorite. We laughed at old stories. We took photos. We stopped traffic lots more times with our curbside service. Everyone else can wait. It’s mom.
Our celebration then took us to mom’s closet. With her new purchases we needed to organize her closet so she could easily access all her new outfits. My sister is a professional organizer and I just love when spaces are neat and functional so this was right up our alley. The three of us quickly got to work making decisions for each article of clothing. We debated what would stay and what would go. We voted on whether we should hang this or fold that. We discussed whether items should go in color order, seasonal order, or a hybrid and ultimately whether things should face to the left or right. (Our mom is left handed and we are not.) Most may think this task to be tedious, but we found it exhilarating so we didn’t stop at the closet. (We had unleashed the beast.) We organized most of the bedroom as mom gave instructions on where things should go and provided well-crafted defenses on why things should be kept that we wanted to toss. Sometimes she won. Other times we vetoed. She really loves us.
With everything from her closet to her dressers to her desk all organized, we collapsed with a satisfied sigh. We felt so great being able to do all these things for mom which would help her and in turn help dad too. Go us. A lot of hugs and tears later, Michelle and I left our childhood home the next day and headed back to Charleston. We went through some of the things we brought from our parent’s house. (Does anyone else still have an old rusted Holly Hobbie lunchbox?) Then we enjoyed more fun sister time until I had to catch my flight home to Lakeland.
That’s when the phone calls started.
Poor mom couldn’t find a dang thing. She’s never said a cross word to us in her life, but I think she was secretly calling us all kinds of names under her breath.
“Where’s my nail polish?”
“Where did you put my around-the-house pants?”
“Where’s my paper clips?”
Uh oh. We may have wrecked her world. In our efforts to make things better, we may have gone overboard. We were able to help her locate most things via telephone. A thing or two may require a plane flight up to sort out. A couple other things were just gone. Maybe we threw them out by accident? Maybe she hid them herself in an effort to teach us a lesson. (If so, Mom, I applaud you.) Nevertheless, I found myself ordering her a colorful assortment of various sizes of paper clips.
On the phone a few days later, she thanked me for the office supplies. I told her that I was certain they were on her desk when we left, but nevertheless if she couldn’t find something I felt somewhat responsible so I ordered the best paper clips I could find. That’s when she zinged me.
“Well in that case, I know I had a fur coat in that closet.”
Told ya. ZING!
I laughed until I had to excuse myself for the restroom. Good one, mama.
Mom is truly the most special woman I have ever known. She loves the Lord and her family in a special way and I’ve loved her and looked up to her my whole life. I have a great respect and fondness for her gentle strength and desire to help everyone even when she’s suffering in significant pain. She would give you her last dollar and never think twice. It’s mom and it’s why we wanted to give her all the royal treatment we could in one weekend. As we honored her, we wanted her to see that her sacrifices for us were appreciated in ways our family could never describe. Sometimes, words just aren’t enough to convey the honor and appreciation you have for someone so special. To celebrate and recognize what she had been through required action and it’s a time we will cherish.
We know our mom is a fighter and will continue to get stronger. We promised her another girls weekend soon. But I have a feeling she will have a few guidelines for us when we arrive.
P.S. Fun Fact: On the day and exact time the Queen passed away, my sister and I were eating at 82 Queen in Charleston, SC.