“A holiday and you won’t be eating here,” Ma repeated softly while she cleared the table.
Ma breathed a sigh of relief as she carried the plates to the kitchen. Liz had just told her, in front of everybody, that there was going to be a holiday and that she would be eating all she wanted someplace else. What this had to do with mothers was still a mystery to Ma.
But, to be honest, it didn't matter. Liz would be eating somewhere else. Someone else would have to feed Liz. Someone else would have to clean up after Liz.
Mother’s Day was not a special day for my Ma. They really didn’t celebrate it in Malta. For the first five years she had lived in America she saw it on the calendar. She regarded it in the same way in which she regarded Hanukkah or Chinese New Year’s. It was just one of those things that other people celebrated in America. She hoped the folks who celebrated it enjoyed it. But she firmly believed that she didn't have to do anything about it just because it was on the calendar.
Liz was going to eat holiday food somewhere else.
Suddenly Ma saw the value, the absolute need, for American holidays.
When Ma returned, she decided she wanted to circle the date of this wonderful holiday which she could basically ignore, kitchenwise. “Hmm... Liz... Liz...” Aunt Liz stopped chewing and smiled at Ma. “This Mother’s Day Brunch. When is it?”
Liz swallowed. “Why, on Mother’s Day, of course.”
Liz searched through the bowl for another nut, then paused before crushing a Brazil nut. Suddenly she realized something about her new in-law. She decided she needed to be absolutely clear for Ma's benefit. “The second Sunday in May. You’re joking, right? I couldn’t believe it when Charlie said Maltese don’t have Mother’s Day.”
Liz put down her Brazil nut. “You DO know you’re supposed to do something, don’t you? You ARE doing something special for Mother’s Day, aren’t you?”