Libby and I eased ourselves out of bed, and walking on tippy toes, did what we needed to do, and then walked as quietly as little mice out of the hallway and through the large living room. The hardwood floors felt cold on our bare feet even though it was mid-May. Our mountain mornings were always quite cool, and with no heat on, the house was quite cool, too. As we reached the door from the living room to the kitchen, I, older than Libby by three years and thus the leader, whispered, “Let’s go in as quiet as we can, and close their door before we wake them up.”
Libby, who could hardly contain herself, nodded her head up and down, and both of us slipped across the slick kitchen tile without as much as a hint of noise. As I eased Mom and Dad’s bedroom door closed, both of us let out a silent sigh as we listened for any sign of movement. We heard nothing. So far, so good!
The two of us had had this Mother’s Day planned for a long time (in kid time, at least), and we didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Since Mother’s Day always fell on Sunday, we knew Sears would be closed, so Mom would be home. Daddy was not yet on the flue-cured tobacco market, so he would be home, too. He was in on part of the surprise but didn’t know about the ring that MommyBlanche had helped us with. We had taken our idea to her, telling her we had about $35 together. Precious MommyBlanche looked and looked through mail order catalogs with us until we came across just the right thing for our budget. Still, at almost $40, it was more than we had.
Libby and I had saved money for forever, knowing that we wanted to do something really special for Mom. A $40 ring might not sound like too much, and true, we could have gotten a fancier one with bigger birthstones if we had had more money, but it had taken every bit we had both saved from our snack money, bam buds money, and tobacco money. MommyBlanche, bless her loving little heart, came to our rescue and made up the difference so that we would have enough to buy this little ring. Made out of 10K gold, it had four little stones in it, one for each of us. There were two garnets for Mom’s and Dad’s January birthdays, a Ruby for my July birthday, and a sapphire for Libby’s September birthday. Excitement almost popped out of our skin like a sweat at the thought of surprising Mom with not only breakfast but with a real Mother’s ring to boot.
I was 10, almost 11, and Libby was 7, and for the first time ever, we were going to cook breakfast so Mom could sleep in. As excited as we were, I, at least, was just as nervous for I had never cooked breakfast completely on my own, and it was I who would do the actual cooking since Libby was too young to mess with the stove. She would have the jobs of setting the table, pouring the milk in the bowl for the gravy, and getting out the jams, butter, and honey.
I went over what I needed to do in my head, then made a mental check by each task on the list as I completed it. Coffee on; sausage in the skillet; flour, Crisco, and milk in the bowl; turn the sausage; biscuits in the oven; make the gravy; take the biscuits out of the oven; all on the kitchen bar and ready to eat. And last but certainly not least, set the little wrapped box beside Mom’s plate. DONE!
Libby and I burst through Mom and Dad’s bedroom door, then rang out in unison, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy! Breakfast’s ready! Get up! Get up!”
Mom appeared, wrapping her housecoat around her. “What? Girls, did you really make breakfast?!?! That’s the best present!”
Daddy followed, pants on, bare footed and bare chested. “Great googlamoolies! Something sure smells good in here!” And he winked as he sat down at the bar.
“Hurry, hurry, Mommy! Sit down!”
“Oh, what’s this?” Mom exclaimed. Libby and I were practically jumping to the rhythm of our beating hearts as Mom picked up the little package and meticulously unwrapped it without leaving even the slightest tear in the paper.
Finally, and at last, the box opened, and there it was, the little Mother’s ring with all four of our birthstones in it. Mom gasped, drawing her breath in sharply, “Oh, my goodness! Girls, how did you…where did you get this? It’s beautiful! Where did you get the money? It’s the prettiest Mother’s ring I ever saw!”
We ran to her, and she slipped down from her stool, throwing an arm around each of us. She pulled us tight, and whispered into our ears, “This is the best Mother’s Day ever!”
And it was.
Libby and I were so excited about this little ring, and breakfast, too, for that matter. By the way, breakfast turned out just fine–not quite as good as Mom’s, but that didn’t matter. I’m sure Mom knew a whole lot more about what was going on that morning than she ever let on, but she hid it well. It may have been Mother’s Day, but Libby and I felt so loved that morning that it may as well have been our day.
Mom wore the little Mother’s ring until it would no longer fit over her arthritic knuckles. I have it now, a perfect circle of the family I cherished. It will be on my finger this Sunday, a gift back from Mom…
Happy Mother’s Day!