I awoke this morning at about 9:30 to the sound of my father calling up the stairs on my side of the house.

“Your mother is calling for her breakfast, Sleeping Beauty!” he yelled with hints of laughter in his voice. “No more sleeping in!”

I believe I grumbled something under my breath about how 9:30 should never be considered sleeping in, but I can’t confirm this, as I was still mostly unconscious and had difficulty enough dragging myself out of bed, let alone forming a complete sentence.

My parents had come down for the weekend. I knew that they’d planned to make the trip sometime Saturday, but they’d surprised me by calling Friday night and informing me that my trip home from Avalon would probably end just before they arrived.  Plans for wandering the city with camera in hand on Saturday immediately changed to spending some time with the family, save the trip to Davis yesterday afternoon to document the undead lurching toward Harvard Square.

My brother (who I’d picked up from his place in the city on last night) and I had planned a barbecue lunch for the rest of the family. My mother had put together the grilled meal of her dreams and I was ready to take on the task (a gesture of love if ever there was one, given the potential for disaster inherent at putting me at a grill). It would be a nice, languid Sunday full of pampering and childrens’ appreciation of their mother (and father, of course).

And it WAS languid – for everyone else! I got a taste of what my mom put up with for years. It gave Mother’s Day a whole new meaning.

Pick up breakfast. Revise lunch menu to cater to everyone’s tastes (carnivore AND vegan-friendly!). Shop at grocery store. Prepare the meal. Fire up the grill. Wonder why the flames went out. Learn how to change a grill gas tank. Re-fire grill. Curse the heat of the open grill on one’s hands. Set vegetable-pineapple skewer stick on fire (and laugh. A lot). Keep vegan options far away from the meat. Serve everyone. Get drinks. Take dishes. Start to make strawberry shortcake dessert. Realize whipped cream was never purchased. Go back to grocery store. Serve strawberry shortcake. Dishes. Tell two generations of matriarchs to step away from the tables and corners because I’ll find my OWN SUNGLASSES because THEY’RE NOT LOST. Thank two generations of matriarchs for finding sunglasses. Drive brother back to Boston, turning around halfway there because he forgot phone at house. Collapse onto couch. Call mother to make sure she and father got back home.

“Mom? By the way, I don’t think I mentioned this, but I realized something today.”

“What’s that?”

“I must have been a nightmare growing up, just to take care of.”

“You weren’t bad.” She’s laughing now.

“But seriously? Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.”

“No, thank YOU. I had a wonderful, wonderful day. But one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Next time, make your pasta salad instead of picking up the salad at the store. Yours is amazing.”

I’m laughing. “OK.”

“After all, my birthday IS next month and if you did this well for Mother’s Day, I’m going to up the ante…”

“Goodnight, Mom. I love you.”