Rose Jackson stirred in her sleep, dreaming of better days. Sunshine, a warm temperature, and the lush greenery that normally heralds a lovely Manitoba summer were all part of the dream, along with the aroma of baking cookies and the sound of happy grandchildren playing in the yard. Better days indeed.
In reality the temperature outside hovered around 6°, with a cold wind blowing in from the north. In her dream there was no wind, and no smell of money either from the hog barns situated on the next section. There was, however, another distinct odour that teased her nostrils and awakened her consciousness. Her eyes opened to the sight of a blurred figure looming over the bed in what seemed at first to be a vaguely threatening way.
“Why do I smell burnt toast?” she asked, half asleep still.
“Because it’s Mother’s Day!” said the blurry figure. “Happy Mother’s Day! Breakfast is almost ready.”
“Breakfast is burnt toast?” Rose rubbed her eyes and then opened them and recognized her husband Andrew as the blurred figure. “Good morning,” she added. “Must have coffee.”
“I burnt the toast to heighten the sense of nostalgia,” said Andrew. “To take your mind back to the many Mother’s Day’s that started with three children standing by the bed carrying plates of rubbery scrambled eggs, undercooked bacon and blackened rye toast while the smoke alarm blared in the hallway.”
“You’re so sweet.” Rose sat up and Andrew tossed a pillow behind her so she could lean back in comfort against the headboard of their king-size bed. “I remember those days.” She reached for her glasses and put them on. “Do I get Froot Loops?”
“No,” said Andrew. “No Froot Loops.”
“Well that’s a relief,” said Rose. “I always dreaded the Froot Loops.”
“Froot Loops are indeed dreadful,” said Andrew. “Here is your coffee though,” he added setting a mug on the bedside table beside her. “Black as sin, and almost as delicious.”
“Oh thank you!” Rose lifted the mug to her nose and inhaled the intoxicating aroma. “Now that is really all I need to make Mother’s Day complete. Coffee in bed.”
“Well, that’s perfect,” said Andrew, “because aside from the burnt toast, that’s all I made.”
Rose tilted her head back and sniffed the air. “Then why do I smell bacon?” she asked.
“Beats me,” said Andrew. “I didn’t fry any bacon.”
“Well, somebody is frying bacon… ”
“Happy Mother’s Day Mom!” Jennifer stood in the doorway, smiling cheerfully. “Brunch will be ready in about 20 minutes, as soon as the others arrive!” She padded over to the bed in her fuzzy green slippers and gave her mother a hug. “Love you Mom,” she said.
“We’re having brunch?” said Rose. “When did you get here? And others are coming?” She looked at Andrew. “When did you organize all this?”
“Yesterday,” said Andrew. “That’s why you didn’t know about it. Because nobody else did either.”
“Somebody’s at the door,” said Rose, and a moment later footsteps could be heard running down the hall. Two children flew into the room and flung themselves bodily onto the bed next to Rose.
“Hi Gramma!” they cried in unison. Grandma, who had managed to set her coffee cup safely down just before the two of them arrived on the bed, folded them happily in her arms.
“Hi my little munchkins,” she said. “How are Allison and Andy this morning?”
“We made cards for Mommy,” said Allison. “Are we having breakfast now? My card had dinosaurs on it.”
“We will eat right away honey,” said Andrew. “I think Uncle Brady and Auntie Amanda and Michaela are just coming in and then we’ll be ready.”
“Oh good!” said Allison. “Because I’m starving.”
“Me too,” said Rose. “I guess I’d better get out of bed.”
“Let’s go!” Allison and Andy hopped off the bed and dashed out of the room. Rose followed suit at a more relaxed pace.
“I feel like I should get dressed,” she said. “I can’t eat breakfast in my pyjamas if the whole family is here.”
“It’s Mother’s Day,” said Jennifer. “You can do whatever you want.”
“Pyjamas it is then,” said Rose. She stepped into her own slippers and a moment later they entered the dining room, to the sight of a fully set table loaded with a variety of dishes and foods.
“Happy Mother’s Day Mom!” Brady, Randy, Jackie and Amanda all spoke as one from around the table.
Rose hugged them all, then sat down at the table.
“Well isn’t his special,” she said. “Thank you all.”
“No,” said Randy. “Thank YOU!”
“Thank me for what?” said Rose, seating herself at the table.
“For being the best mom and grandma in the history of the world,” said Jennifer.
Rose looked around at her assembled family. “You’re welcome,” she said, smiling. “Let’s eat.”