17: The Best Day Ever

17: The Best Day Ever

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Best Mom Ever!

The Best Day Ever

We laugh, we cry. We make time fly. We are best friends, my mother and I.

~Author Unknown

It was a warm Saturday afternoon in early spring 1961. Mom and I had spent a long, fruitless day shopping in the city for my wedding gown.

I was exhausted, and my feet were killing me. We’d begun shopping early that morning, trudging from one department store to the next with little success. To my dismay, every dress I loved significantly exceeded our budget. Each was more beautiful than the last, the fit flawless. My heart broke as I was forced to walk away because of the numbers on the price tags.

We decided to abandon our search for the gown and concentrate instead on finding material for the bridesmaid dresses. We eventually selected a beautiful brown chiffon fabric with large pink polka dots, only to be disappointed yet again. We needed enough material for six attendants, and the bolt was two yards short of the amount specified by the pattern. Although there were other lovely fabrics, I had my heart set on pink and brown as my wedding colors, and no amount of coaxing by Mom could change my mind.

Our luck didn’t get much better as the day wore on. My excitement at finding the gorgeous wide-brimmed hats that would be the perfect complement to my attendants’ dresses was short-lived. We needed six, and no matter how many times I counted, there were only five in stock. My shoulders slumped. I could not imagine my bridal party wearing any other hat.

The despair must have shown on my face because Mom insisted, “Let’s take a break and get something to eat. I’m starving!”

I don’t know if Mom was actually hungry, or if she thought food and a break might cheer me up, but I agreed that it was a good idea.

We headed over to Newberry’s lunch counter, sat down, and ordered our usual shared triple-decker club sandwich with fries, a cherry Coke for me, and black coffee for Mom.

Halfway through the meal, I reached for a napkin and managed to tip over my soda. It drenched the entire counter, pouring onto both our dresses like a cascading waterfall. That was the last straw! I burst into tears.

The gentleman sitting next to me quickly grabbed a handful of napkins and helped us clean the mess while attempting to avoid getting any of it on his own clothing. Mom remained calm, moving the plates aside to mop up the remainder before the waitress came over with a damp cloth to give the counter a final wipe. I sat there helpless, useless and dejected, alternately dabbing at my tears and my saturated dress.

I managed to compose myself enough to apologize to the other customers sitting near us and to the sympathetic waitress. She quickly refilled my drink without asking. After finishing our soggy sandwich, we decided it would be wise to head home and make dinner for my father and two brothers rather than chance another misfortune. Mom slipped her arm through mine and gave me an understanding smile as we headed for the closest bus stop.

Although relieved to be heading home, I was equally disappointed in what I considered the waste of a valuable weekend day.

As we sat at the back of the bus, each absorbed in our own thoughts, a giggle bubbled from Mom’s lips. I looked at her, and without saying a word, began to giggle, too. Before we knew it, we were laughing until tears rolled down our cheeks. Every time we tried to speak we were unable to get the words out. I swear we laughed uncontrollably for at least twenty minutes, doubled over and completely oblivious to anyone around us.

When I glanced out the window, I saw that we had almost missed our stop. I reached up and quickly pulled the plastic-coated bell cord to signal the driver. As the bus slowed to a stop, we stood and held on to the sturdy metal pole, waiting for the back door to open. It didn’t! I reached over and pulled the cord again. The door still remained shut!

We finally looked toward the driver to see if he was aware of the problem, and he motioned for us to come to the front of the bus. To our surprise, when we got there, he declared, “Ladies, there was no way I was going to let you off this bus without finding out what was so funny! I have never in my life seen anyone laugh as heartily as the two of you!”

Mom was quick to respond with, “We just had the best day ever!” Then she began to laugh again. I was too dumbfounded to speak, and quickly stepped down to exit the door.

“Mom!” I exclaimed after getting off the bus, “Why would you tell him we just had the best day ever? Nothing went right! It was an awful day!”

“Honey,” she replied, “Any day I get to spend with you and laugh as hard as we just did, is the best day ever!”

I reflected on Mom’s words as we walked the remaining five blocks to our home. She had to be much more tired than I was, yet she hadn’t uttered one word of complaint. Instead she insisted she’d had a great day because she got the chance to spend it laughing with me.

I realized she was right. It was a great day filled with love and laughter! No matter what the situation, the two of us being together always made everything better. I smiled as I looked at her and said, “Thanks, Mom.”

The decades have flown by. Mom and I have shared so much since that day in 1961 — from the births of my five children to the deaths of my father, brother and husband. We have continued to support each other through it all.

Ten years ago, Mom suffered a rather severe stroke and needed full-time care. Without hesitation I left my home in the capable hands of my youngest son and moved in with her.

Despite everything she has endured, my mother has never once complained. I feel privileged to spend every day with this courageous, optimistic woman.

There are times when I get tired and discouraged, but Mom’s positive outlook and beautiful smile always get me through the difficult days and long nights. It is during these trying moments that I remember that bus ride home, and how Mom turned a disastrous experience into a beautiful, precious memory.

Thank you, Mom, for always showing me that the love and laughter we share as mother and daughter can triumph over even the worst of times. I promise you that we will continue to laugh for many years to come, because any day I get to spend with you is the best day ever!

~Connie Kaseweter Pullen

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