I had planned to make my next post about going out last Friday night, but it really wasn't all that eventful. Just going out with Rosita, drinking a little to a lot, dancing, and not driving home. I've gotten a lot less nervous about doing that lately, and I probably deep down enjoy the attention. I think it has something to do with no longer being afraid of my body, if that makes any sense. Friday and Saturday nights were mostly just people in outfits that might have been mildly offensive wishing me a happy Cinco de Mayo on "my" holiday. Either way I didn't pay for a shot of tequila once.
Sunday morning Ashley jiggled me awake gently, which was weird because usually if I'm hungover and she's annoyed and needs something she'll either yell to wake me up or violently shake me.
"What time is it?" I asked groggily
"12:30" She said opening the curtains "I'd let you sleep in more but our reservations are at 1:30"
I lifted my head up in curiosity "Reservations?"
"IHOP. I thought about making you pancakes but I forgot how, so brunch will have to do." With that she climbed onto the bed and gave me a big hug.
"Happy Mother's Day"
If you haven't noticed the pattern yet I'm bad with dates, especially ones that aren't etched in stone in my brain. I forgot day of the dead, cinco de mayo, and if it weren't for constant calendar reminders Ashley's birthday would have been forgotten.
I haven't lived with my Mom for years, so most Mother's days I'm reminded shortly after waking up what day it is. That leads to overpaying for same day flower delivery and a two hour phone conversation. Today my reminder came with a hug and some very bright sunlight before being told to hurry up and shower.
When I was clean and dressed Ashley drove us to the pancake house. Did I mention she can drive now? I think somewhere in my various gaps in posting she passed her driver's test with a perfect score and can now drive, which I make her do often. Now she's the one who goes to the grocery store when I forget something, or grabs some shampoo at Walmart when we run out, or buys her own emergency school supplies. The novelty of driving hasn't worn off yet so she hasn't complained. After a quick trip that involved a tricky but perfectly executed "Michigan Left" turn we were there.
Like all restaurants on Mother's Day, IHOP was packed for brunch. There was a line out the door of people who hadn't thought to call ahead like Ashley, and thanks to her foresight we were seated quickly, although the service was understandably slow.
While we waited, she was talkative and engaging, asking me questions about boring things like work, or movies, or TV...how she's glad I'm finally into Game of Thrones. It was kind of weird seeing her like that.
Many Teenage girls are, have always been, and will always be talkative. I went to high school just before the ubiquity of cell phones and I remember the constant chatter in our high school halls. Girls these days can be just as chatty, they're just doing it digitally. Ashley is constantly texting, several thousand a month, so she's only quiet in the audio sense. Today she had turned her phone off and we sat and had breakfast face to face and it was kind of refreshing.
When the check came I reached for my purse but she waved me off.
"Where did you get money?" I asked. She doesn't have a job or an allowance. I briefly though she might have been selling drugs at school but there were no signs of that in her behavior.
"You know how you send me places? I always tell you things cost a little more and keep the change"
I was actually a little proud of her cleverness. I couldn't really faulting her for skimming money when because even though I earned it was Kari's money for the purposes of taking care of her.
When we got to the car she surprised me with a big hug.
"Happy Mother's Day"
"Thank you. It was very thoughtful"
"I know I forget it some years, and others I kind of blow it off. But I wanted to make sure I did something nice this year. To say thank you. You know, for all you've done this last year."
"What do you mean?"
"You've been...I dunno....better somehow? You don't go out drinking on weeknights, you always go into work, you've stopped smoking pot, and I haven't woken up to a strange guy in the bathroom in ages. It's like you've become a whole nother person."
She was absolutely right. She had no idea, nor would she ever, that her mother's body was currently being occupied by someone else but I'm different enough that she had guessed it.
"These last few months have meant a lot to me" She continued "Helping with the driving, letting me hang out with dad, learning math so you could help me with ACT studying. I've noticed the effort"
I hugged her partially because it was a nice thing to say, partially for her to avoid the guilty confused look on my face. This was someone else's daughter, and her she was saying how great a mom I've suddenly become now that the original wasn't there. I was proud of myself and heartbroken for Kari. Ugh, these emotions.
That was obviously almost 3 weeks ago but I wanted to write it down, even though I've had almost no motivation to do so. But with all the other poster's keeping their stories alive, as well as poor Simon who can't know what's about to happen to him, I wanted to make sure I shared it. It was just a bit of a profound moment for me. That was a day I'd never thought I'd have, a Mother's day, and I got to experience the kind of gratitude few men ever will. My time in Detroit is winding down, I head to the Inn next month, and I have to say that of all the horrible things I've had to endure in this life, that day kind of justified my whole approach and the feelings I felt are going to stay with me forever.