Saturday night we all went to dinner at Olive Garden, which is my mother's favorite place to gather us all. There were nine of us, and the place was packed, so we waited a full hour to be seated, since there's no such thing as reservations at Olive Garden. I was angsty and wanted us to go someplace else, but my mom said things like, "This may be my last time dining with you all here," so we stayed and my son tried to keep me distracted and calm.
We eventually sat in two booths back to back, which actually worked out quite nicely. I was happy to be wedged in next to my husband, with no need to stand on ceremony beyond explaining to the waiter that the gracious and elegant little lady at the table with the young ones was the woman of the hour, and please give her everything she wants and make her happy and comfortable. He kindly and scrupulously did just that. We waited an hour, but the service once we were seated was courteously perfect.
My niece's boyfriend spent the weekend with us. He was meeting my mother for the first time. She told him that he got points for having the same name as her father and her grandfather, and by the end of the weekend he'd racked up many more points by just being himself. He is easy, funny and family-oriented. He fitted right in and got along with everyone. Sweet guy.
My daughter was completely wiped out, having left home at 7 a.m. to sit the Pre-SATs at her school, then spending the rest of the day roaming with her five best friends from grade school at their old school's Farm Festival, then doing the family dinner thing. She tried. She mostly succeeded. But here, you can see she's about the fall into her portobello mushroom ravioli.
Back home, our son regaled us with stories of college life. He is particularly enjoying his Biomechanics of Human Movement class. He says he is in exactly the right major, although he had to break it to his Grandma that no, he doesn't plan to go to medical school, he is not going to be a doctor. "I'm going to be an Athletic Trainer, which is a first responder in an athletic setting," he explained to her. "It's like being a paramedic for a sports team." Sorry, Mom, you won't be able to say "My grandson, the doctor." But he'll be employed.
The painting on the wall behind my son if of my husband, painted before were got married. His sister's art teacher saw him when he came to pick her up from class one day and asked if she could paint him. She gave him the painting when she was done, and he in turn gave it to his mother, who gave it to me when her son decided to marry me. I love this painting, and I love that his mother gave it to me. She would have been 76 years old last Thursday, October 14. For my mom, our Olive Garden dinner was to celebrate all our October-born loved ones—my husband and my son still with us, and my dad and my husband's mom, now gone away.