31: Mom to the Rescue

31: Mom to the Rescue

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: For Mom, with Love

Mom to the Rescue

A mother’s heart is a patchwork of love.

~Author Unknown

I think my friends and I started planning our senior prom when we were freshmen. Seriously. We talked for hours about what we’d wear, how we’d do our hair, how we’d pose for our pictures — as couples, then in a group, just the girls, then just the guys — where we’d eat, even rehearsed what we might talk about at the restaurant. I know. Get a life. But it was that huge to us. We painstakingly choreographed every minute and, with all that planning, we expected nothing short of an idyllic prom experience.

The big day arrived and we started getting ready before lunch. Between phone calls to each other, we worked on our hair, nails, make-up, shoes, dresses and purses. The restaurant where we’d made our reservations — three months ahead of time — was forty miles away. Ten of us were to meet there, three hours before the prom, eat together, then convoy to the dance.

The time came for my boyfriend, Rusty, to pick me up. No Rusty. Ten minutes passed. Still no sign of him. Twenty minutes. This was before cell phones so all I could do was wait — wait and experience a major meltdown. Thirty minutes. Forty. How could he do this to me? This was my only senior prom. He’d better be dead, I thought, or seriously injured. As my friends gathered in the restaurant, I paced the family room, burning a hole through the clock with my eyes. How could this happen? I’d planned everything so perfectly.

When Rusty finally peeled into our drive — an hour late — his tuxedo was rumpled and mottled with grease. The ruffled shirt was plastered to his chest with sweat. His face was flushed and his hair was tousled. He’d had a blowout on the interstate and had his first-ever tire changing experience only inches from rushing traffic. I tried to muster some sympathy for him but all I could see was my perfect prom night going down the toilet.

Little did I know that, while I was pacing the front room, my mom had been hard at work. She’d defrosted two steaks and roused my father to light the backyard grill. She’d gathered my grandmother’s best china, crystal and lace tablecloth, thrown together an elegant dinner and then sent my little sister and nephew upstairs to don their Sunday best and serve as waiter and waitress.

By the time Rusty arrived, she’d transformed our living room into a private dining hall complete with candlelight and music. As our friends were returning from their formal dining experience, we were just sitting down to ours. I never saw Mama that night. She sent my sister and nephew through the door with dish after dish, from salad all the way to dessert. And while we ate, she washed, dried and ironed Rusty’s tuxedo shirt.

We made it to prom with time to spare and a story to tell. Looking back now, I can’t remember if I ever thanked my mom. I was probably more concerned with not spilling anything on my dress and making sure we got to the dance on time. She was content to remain in the shadows remedying yet another mini trauma in my life. By the way, thanks Mom.

~Mimi Greenwood Knight

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