The kitchen table was set for lunch. Nothing fancy, just a quick lunch with her two sons who were both home from college for the spring break, but she’d tried to make them things that she knew they liked to eat. The older boy, twenty, a senior at SUNY New Paltz and her younger son, aged eighteen, a freshman at UCLA.
She was proud of them both even though they were both very different: the younger wanting to be a filmmaker, thus UCLA, and the older a music teacher which was why he chose New Paltz.
They were always so close, she thought as she peeled a cucumber to add to the salad. Jeremy and his video camera making extravagant movies, or so he thought, when he was still in high school and Gerry adding music at the piano as the family watched the movies on the living room television.
They’d had a good life and she missed those days – the boys seemed to be drifting apart. Maybe, she wondered, it was just a phase because of the distance between their schools. But, this vacation they didn’t seem to have the need to be together as they had in the past. There weren’t any new movies shown on the television. There didn’t seem to be any excitement at the family being home together as a group – not like the “old days”.
She tossed the salad and took out the array of cold cuts to make each their specialized sandwich and wondered what she could do to strike up the spark of “family” in her boys.
As she finished her preparations and was about to place the plates on the table the doorbell rang.
Who could that be? She wondered. And where are the boys?
She wiped her hands and went to the front door and was surprised by the huge box blocking the door so she could barely get out of the house to read the note that simply read –
“Movie night tonight at 8:00.”
She then noted that the box was labeled with the make and size of the television contained within. Far too large for her to move so she went back inside and to the kitchen only to find her sons happily munching on their sandwiches with a big sign overhead, hung from the kitchen cabinets – Happy Birthday, Mom!
She sat silently with her two sons at the kitchen table and watched them eat and smiled both internally and externally.
Happy Birthday, she thought.