My earliest memories of my mother are of us driving around in our big camper van, running errands, and listening to her favorites. Artists like Cher, Elton John, and the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack quietly flowed through the speakers as we went from place to place. The most played, however, were tapes of Rod Stewart. At that age, before I discovered the deeper personalities of my parents, the only things I knew about my mother was that she was kind, she was beautiful, and she loved Rod Stewart.
Life was relatively calm in our household but we did always celebrate special occasions. Christmas, birthdays, and Easter were always honored and the satisfaction of being a good host was instilled early within me. On one of my parents anniversaries, when I was about 7 years old, I decided to do something special for them. They worked hard to take care of me so on their special day I wanted to create a relaxed and romantic environment for them to celebrate in. So I cleaned up all the various things that found their way onto our dining room table, set out the good china, picked out some candles, and chose some paper to write out place settings for my two favorite people in the world.
I figured it would be nice to write “Happy Anniversary Linda + Robert = Love” on their place settings. I congratulated myself on my romantic originality and put pen to paper, carefully laying down each stroke of the pen with my absolute best script. Robert didn’t fit so I decided to just write Rob for short since my mom called him Rob anyway (Only “Robert” if he was in trouble). When I was done I proudly displayed the cards on their plates and awaited the thanks and praise I was sure I’d get.
When the first reaction echoed its way from the dining room I was shocked and hurt that it wasn’t the “ooo’s” and “awww’s ” I was expecting and instead laughter. What was so funny about the cards I had so carefully written out? When I went to investigate my mother was curled over laughing and my father standing erect holding the card up to his face. “Happy Anniversary Linda and ROD?! Who is Rod?” he demands with a half smirk.
“Rod Stewart”, my mother replies still in between giggles.
Oh no! My heart drops. I wrote lower case B the wrong direction and now its a D. Not many men can say they don’t mind their wife swooning over rock stars, and my father was no exception. Now, on their anniversary, I had reminded him of that. “I’m so sorry, dad. I’m sorry.” I apologized a few times feeling the heat of embarrassment at my childish mistake. But after a few moments the haze clears over myself and I see the smiles on my parents faces not only at me, but also towards each other. Maybe I didn’t ruin their special day, I thought as I left the room.
Now years later, I learn more about my mother each day, but some things are for sure. She is kind, she is beautiful, she likes Rod Stewart, and she loves my dad.