As you many have read from my post last Thursday, my parents just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary. My dad wrote a very heartfelt tribute for the occassion, found here, about their journey together over the years.
They celebrated their special day by going out to dinner. I'll give you one guess as to which restaurant they went to. For those avid followers of my blog, you've probably guessed by now: Outback Steakhouse (if you guessed Miguels you were close...but Outback is for a more celebratory occassion). Sadly, mom is having trouble remembering the name of her favorite restaurant these days. But dad knew where she'd want to go before she even asked him to "take me to that really good place I like, that one that has that meat."
A couple of days before their anniversary, I came home from dropping off kids at school to find a message on my machine.
"Oh, it's mom and I wanted you to take me to the Dollar Tree place cuz they have cards and things there too and I want to go for-to get a card for your dad."
When I heard the message, I knew I wouldn't be able to work on her timeline to take her (which would be at that very moment) so I put off calling her back. I figured I would call her later in the day when I was ready to go that direction to the grocery store. Mom beat me to the punch and called me again shortly after 3:00, just as I was getting ready to head out the door.
"Cassandra, did you get my message?? I really need to go to the Dollar Tree so please can you take me sometime?"
"As a matter of fact I am going out the door right now to the grocery store. I can pick you up now and take you," I responded (a couple of times).
Finally, she replied emphatically,
"What? You mean you can take me right now? Oh good! Let me just go put on my bra and I can go. Yeah. Oh good!"
I hung up the phone, laughing of course.
I drove the mile down the road to mom's house and as I pulled in the driveway, I could see her waiting for me on the couch, peering out the window in anticipation (this is our normal routine whenever I pick her up to go somewhere). She closed the blinds and came out the front door. As she practically skipped down the driveway, wind blowing her bangs back, she had a huge grin on her face, ear to ear. You would've thought I was taking her Disneyland.
"Oh I'm so glad you're able to take me dear, thank you so much for taking me. They have such really good cards at the Dollar Tree..." she talked my ear off for the next minute and a half that it took to arrive to the Dollar Tree, telling me about all the cards she needed to get and what a great price they were there.
She insisted that I drop her off and begin my shopping at the grocery store, located next door to the Dollar Tree. I am always a little hesistant about leaving her alone in a store; mostly because I'm afraid that she won't be able to communicate with others if needs be and that people will look at her strangely or treat her badly for her odd behavior. But since she was only going for the card, and I was right next door, I figured it would be okay.
In no time, I saw her briskly walking down the aisle of the grocery store where I was selecting my pasta for the evening's meal.
"See what I got? This one that says this, 'you're my husband and my best friend'", she said proudly, showing me the card she had selected.
"That one is perfect mom," I said.
We continued around the store, mom grabbing a bag of fritos for herself as I finished my shopping trip. For once, she wasn't rushing me or asking me when I was ready to go (okay...take that back, she did ask one time if I was almost done). But she seemed content to walk with me as I finished my chore.
On the drive home, she thanked for me taking her to the Dollar Tree and urged me not to say a word about it to my dad.
"I'm gonna surprise him with this too so I don't want him to know I got it so don't tell him that you took me, okay Dear?" she said with a childlike innocence that brought a tear to my eye. It was clear that this card for my dad meant a lot to her. And in her mind, it was going to mean a lot to my dad (and I'm sure it did...he's a simple guy to please!)
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful parents who have truly shown me what real love looks like. I hope they both had a lovely evening and that mom enjoyed her delicious dinner at Outback Steakhouse.