My mother looked over the long list of sides items on the menu and politely asked the waitress if they served french fries. The waitress was quick to say no.
My mother, fairly certain that she had ordered fries at the family-style seafood restaurant in the past said, "Really? Have you served fries in the past?" The waitress took a breath and replied, "I've been a waitress here for 16 years and trust me, we have never served fries."
It was easy to see that this was a question she had answered a million times over her lengthy waitressing career and had little patience left to answer it yet again.
My mother and I settled on twice baked potatoes and cole slaw with our boiled lobster dinner. This was a celebration. I don't get to dine with my mother that often as she lives in Massachusetts.
We had a wonderful lunch until the check arrived. We always argue over who is going to pay the bill. You could see that the veteran waitress was really struggling to decide who to hand the check to as my mother and I were literally grabbing for the check.
The waitress listened patiently as my mother argued that she never gets to treat me to lunch. My argument was that whenever we do get together, my mother always foots the bill.
Finally, the career waitress who just a short time earlier had seemed cold and distant, looked at us both and made the most simple and profound statement. She turned to my mother and said, "You've spent your whole life taking care of her. You've fed her, clothed her and raised her. Why not let her take care of you?"
My mother and I looked at each other and our eyes welled up with tears. Feeling a little silly, we looked at the waitress and were surprised to see tears also filling her eyes.
What a wonderful piece of wisdom served up by someone who first appeared to be an unlikely source. My mother happily let me grab the check. I was thrilled to take care of her for a change, although I know, it will never come close to repaying her for all she has done for me.
Sloane is a reporter and anchor for WRAL-TV and the mom of three. She writes monthly for Go Ask Mom.