Her desires didn’t run along the lines of spending time with her mom and little brother. She wanted to be with her friends. Anne tried every thing to get out of going. She even resorted to being obstinate and called her mom by her first name. Normally, this was a sure fire way of getting grounded, and right now grounded was better than being made to spend a gruesome day with her family.
Anne and Tommy watched as their mom grabbed the bag she had filled … the just-in-case bag. “Let’s hit the road.” The words Anne dreaded to hear.
She flipped her sable-brown hair over her shoulder. “Why do I have to go?”
Her mom gave her the ‘mom’ look. “We’re not going down that road again.”
Earphones in place, she rested her head on the back of the seat. At least she didn’t have to listen to her brother’s annoying banter.
“Look at the countryside.” Her mom glanced in the mirror. “Anne, you could put that thing away.
Tommy squished his nose against the window. “Wow Mom, look at the cows. There’s hundreds of ‘em.”
“Anne, take those earphones off and enjoy the day with us.”
She lifted her head. “You say something, Mom?”
“Yeah, I said look around and enjoy the day.”
“Whatever.” Oh yea, wildflowers. Earphones back in place, Anne closed her eyes.
“Anne, wake up.”
With a yawn she sat up. “Mom, we’re going to eat here?”
“And what’s wrong with here?”
“It takes too long. Can’t we use the drive thru?”
“We’re eating here, it’s part of the plan.”
It wasn’t part of Anne’s plan. She wanted to go home. Why am I being tortured?
Her mom’s chest rose and fell, as she took a deep breath. “And leave those earphones in the car. Let’s go.”
Tommy’s cap bounced off his blond head as he crawled on top of one of the hay-bales set around the entrance to the country café. “Look at this barrel of pickles.”
“Get down, Tommy. You always enjoy the food here, Anne. I guess this wasn’t such a wonderful idea.” Her mom’s sparkling smile was missing.
“We always eat here, and every time Tommy points out that stupid barrel of pickles.”
“Don’t be rude, Anne.”
She rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”
A very short time elapsed between their country drive and her world changing in a way she could have never imagined, like an engine when the fan belt breaks. Anne would have given anything to take back the things she said and did on that trip. I can’t believe I was such a selfish-brat.
“Anne?” Her mom called from the bedroom.
She went into her mom’s room. “You called? Can I get something for you?”
“What I need is some company. Pull the chair closer to the bed.”
She sat on the chair and the tears begin.
Her mom handed her a tissue. “Why the tears? Remember, the doctor said it’s a good thing the lump in my breast was found early. I’m going to be just fine, sweetie.”
She wiped her face. “It’s not that. I … I’m not a good daughter.”
Her mom reached for her hand. “What are you talking about? You’re the best of daughters.”
“No … I’m not. I’m selfish, like when we drove out to the country. Be … before you got sick.” She lowered her head.
“You weren’t the most delightful that day. But honey, we’ve had sixteen wonderful years together, and we’ll have lots more, I promise. I remember days I wish I hadn’t been a cranky mom. Thankfully, we’ve been blessed with more great days than lousy days. As much as we want to, we can’t go back and change the things we regret, but we can tuck away the lessons we learn from them, and choose to cherish the good.”
She slipped into bed next to her mom. “I love you mommy.”
“I love you, too.”
Tommy came bouncing into the room. “I want to cuddle too.” He snuggled under the covers on the other side of her mom.
The afternoon sun lit the wall and slanted across the bed, as her mom hugged them close. “How about next summer we spend a week at the ocean?”
She noticed the sparkle in her mom’s smile. “That sounds super, Mom.” She closed her eyes. There was nowhere in the world she would rather be.
“… Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - Meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV
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