Before I left on my African excursion, I did a little sleuthing and figured out nobody at my office would miss me too much if I was gone the week after Mother’s Day.Â Before I made my reservation, I checked the dates with my brother (my parents would be visiting him and his family when I wanted to be there), and he suggested we surprise Mom.Â So, I traded in some of my miles for a seat on an airplane headed for Los Angeles and didn’t tell my parents.
As I was talking to my Mom the night before I left for Senegal, she asked if there was any way I could take some time off and get to CA while they were there.Â I had to tell her my schedule was packed, and I couldn’t take any more time to go to CA.Â While I was in Africa, I got an e-mail from her saying my brother had called them and had said if I could take the time to come visit he would pay for a third of my ticket.Â Then he asked them if they would pay a third, and they readily agreed.Â Once again, I had to tell my Mom, “No, sorry.Â It’s not going to work.”(My little creep of a brother forcing me to lie yet again!!!!)Â She wrote back, said she understood, and closed her message with a verse from Psalms that went something like this: “Oh Lord!Â Hear the longings and the sighings of my heart.”Â Nothing like a little old fashioned Scripture guilt!
Well, the day before Mother’s Day arrived.Â I got on that plane, found my seat, and listened to my MP3 player all the way to LAX.Â A good friend of my brother and sister-in-law, Audra, met me in baggage claim, and then we headed for the high school where my brother was going to perform in a fund-raiser for my nephew’s school.Â We had reserved seats down front with the rest of the family.Â About 10 minutes after we arrived, my family started to file in.Â My oldest nephew started down the row of seats, I looked at him and smiled, he just stood there blinking as his jaw dropped down near his chest.Â When my youngest nephew saw me, he just gave me a scowl—probably because my Mom had been telling him I was much too busy to come visit him.Â Then my unflappable Dad saw me, nudged my Mom and said, “Look who’s here.”Â She replied, “Yes—Audra’s here.Â I know.”Â He said, “Next to Audra.”Â Then my Mom said, “Oh . . .OH!” and grabbed her chest.Â Later she told me she thought she was going to faint.Â I got her good!