"Oh, great. Glad you made it. I just left you voice mail on your cell phone." my mother says as my boyfriend and I exit his vehicle and meet my mother in her home driveway.
"Oh? I did not get it. Sorry. What did it say?" I inquire.
"I bought a car. I am about to go pick it up and give them the keys to the Intrepid. Wanna come with?" my mothers responds excitedly.
Momentarily confused and incredibly surprised, I stutter a few words, look at my boyfriend and hear my Dads voice from the porch.
"Hey, R, come sit with me while the ladies go pick up the car" my Dad bellows.
Boyfriend turns his head to me, I shrug, I mouth the words "Lucky you" and I leave him with my dad.
On the way to the dealership my mother tells me all about her car buying adventures, the minivan (barf, so not me) that she selected, her test drive, the salesman and more.
While I am not a fan of minivans (so NOT my personal image) I am pleased to see my mother so excited over the purchase of something she has wanted for some time – a seven passenger vehicle.
We enter the dealership and I note that it has changed since I bought my own past five vehicles. It is brighter, cleaner, more modern with the showroom being much smaller than it used to be.
Mom and I settle ourselves down at a small round table surrounded by four comfortable black chairs. A salesman approaches and my mom tells him we we are here to see Ronnie F., a childhood friend of my fathers, and our family car salesman.
Salesman nods, with what appears to be a bit of disappointment (no sale for him today) and he leaves to find Ronnie for us.
I scan the showroom floor and notice Scott H, a high school classmate. I stare for a few minutes noting how much he looks like his father, a high school teacher.
Mom begins to banter on about the van, the color, the seats, etc. and I am casually listening. Ronnie appears at my side, hugs me, asks about my children and my own cars and I return the chatter.
I am startled at how good Ronnie looks compared to my own 67 year old father. Ronnie is animated and mobile and has his white hair styled in a short spiky do. I smirk with amusement.
Sales discussions between my mother and Ronnie ensue and I return to admiring the handsome, Scott H, from high school.
Ronnie leaves us to process some paperwork with the insurance company and my mother is approached by an elderly gentlemen that could have walked off the set of the Sopranos. Something inside me turns over as I sense a schmoozing, sleazy, sales conversation on the horizon.
"Hello. How are you?" says the gentlemen I have decided is definitely related to Paulie Walnuts.
"Fine. Fine." My mother smiles as she shakes his hand and gestures towards me.
"This is my daughter, Suzan" mom says.
Paulie Walnuts wannabe turns towards me, flashes his big white teeth and extends his arm, which not surprisingly is covered with the requisite gold bling found on most Soprano's characters.
I shake his hand and smile and mumble something in response. I am too taken by his Mr. T Starter Set of jewelry adorning his chest right between his open collar. I cannot respond in depth.
Paulie Walnuts comments on my mothers coffee travel mug. I was not even aware she brought it in with her.
My eyes dart to the table and I see my mothers ceramic, pastel colored mug that says something about being a grandma on it.
I don't hear what Paulie said but I am able to deduce it has something to do with being a grandparent. My mother responds with a smile.
"Yes, I have fourteen of them" she says with pride.
I am thunderstruck and gasp for air.
Did she…just…say…she has fourteen of them?
Paulie utters some sound of exasperation mingled with his own grandpa pride.
I am attempting to process what I just heard. I am struggling to get my wits about me. Am I wrong? I do the mental math. I have 3 children, my sister has 3 children, my brother has 3 children. My older sister has five. 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 5 equals 14, right? I do the math three more times in my head.
I am not wrong.
For the first time in my life, my mother just admitted in public, to a stranger, she has fourteen grandchildren.
She openly acknowledged my daughter.
I hold back tears.