My final morning in Chicago packed in as many moments with my parents and nieces as possible. I awoke in time to see my older nieces before they left for fifth and seventh grade.
I had flashbacks of my childhood when I saw Lauren dashing out the door in the shirt she slept in last night because she missed her alarm.
I didn't even ask if she brushed her teeth.
My dad arrived with a dozen
fat bombs doughnuts from the Dunkin himself and joined us for a cup of coffee before he retreated to the other side of Lake Michigan for the work week.
My mom arrived at my sister's house and the women dragged my sister's poor husband Terry out on a little excursion together before I had to get to the airport. It included
another a late breakfast that was one for the chart toppers.
There were too many good choices, so Amy and I each had to share half our meal with each other.
Then we fought over who got to lick the plates.
Many topics of conversation were covered during this taste bud carnival - but we spent the last part of the meal trying to peel off my mom's rose colored glasses regarding our little brother who just left for his first year of college.
Terry was politely, but adamantly insisting that our baby brother is not as innocent a cherub as his mommy thinks he is.
"He's a good kid... but the boy's a stoner."
That's when I became "that woman" in the restaurant. You know the one - she laughs obnoxiously and uncontrollably so that the rest of the dining population turns and looks as if to say, "it can't be that funny lady."
As my mom defended her sweet baby and his pure-and-white-as-snow ways, Amy and I proceeded to let some cats out of the bag from our own teenage years.
Mom knew about some of my sister's stories, but since I am often viewed as the white sheep because I was the church-going, Bible-thumping kid in high school... I let a few shockers fly.
I fessed up to the reason why I will probably never drink rum again in my life MAY have something to do with a Grateful Dead concert where I probably drank an amount equal to my weight while I danced in a field of mud with a boy that was way too old for me.
And there may have been mention of me taking her Datsun 280zx out to joyride at 2 a.m. when I was 14 years old.
There may have been another story or two.
But if I told you, I'd have to kill you.
After all that, my mom still loves me - aahhhh, nothing like a mother's love.
My little brother can be thankful for that because she still holds to her
illusion faith that he is the picture of perfection.
And on the way out of the restaurant, I was asked by the manager to take myself and my laugh back to Utah.