Dates With My Mother-In-Law

I don’t know about you, but I have an amazing mother-in-law.  I know that I have written about my in-laws already, but I also have written a lot about my students, my children, my husband, and even my pets.  Why can’t I repeat myself?

Today, I went on a “date” with my mother-in-law.  A former student, Steven, bought me a ticket to go see The Sound of Music, and I invited my mother-in-law to join me.  She accepted, so I took her out for lunch and a movie.  And it was lovely.

Today was a day of joys and indulgences.  We went out for lunch to a nice, little cafe and I ordered a cappuccino, the first I have really enjoyed since I was last in Germany.  I have fun drinks from Starbucks al the time.  But this cappuccino was special.  Mom [-in-law] and I were sitting outside at this cafe and we had just finished a lovely meal in which we shared a salad and sandwich.  For some reason, I craved having cream on a coffee…a cappuccino.  When our server came by to take my plates, I made my request and he suggested that he would bring me my cappuccino in a “to-go” cup.

No, I was not in a rush and had no place special to go immediately.  I had an hour before the movie was to start and I had time to do something that school never allows:  savoring something.

So the waiter brought me my cappuccino in a porcelain cup and I sat back in my chair and felt the wind the preceded the afternoon’s storm brush against my skin.  And I sipped on my cappuccino that was tasty and mildly bitter because I didn’t get any sugar or special flavors…just espresso and frothed milk.  And it was perfect.

I miss this about Germany, going to a local cafe (there it’s called a kondeterei if you are buying pastries) and sipping on a cappuccino while not thinking about rushing to the next location or obligation.  This was nothing more than being settled within the world and listening to the cars while pretending they are not cars but some kind of rushing water or a high powered wind.  Come on, I’m pretending here.

After cappuccino, we went to Books-A-Million and then to the wrong theater to realize our mistake to turn around and go to the right theater.

We arrived just after Julie Andrews had started twirling around and singing about how “the hills are alive with the sound of music.”  Mom [-in-law] and I settled into seats much closer to the screen than what we would normally have selected and promptly got lost into the suspended world of The Sound of Music.  I lip synched along with all the songs because I loved all the music.  Fortunately, no one could see me, especially when I got the words wrong.

I love this movie.  When I lived in Germany, we were only about two hours from Salzburg, so many of the landmarks were familiar to me.  My favorite part is when Julie Andrews is about to catch the bus to the Von Trapp house and she walks in front of a series of horse paintings/murals.  When I was a child, I used to search for those paintings as we drove into Salzburg.

I have never been to the original Von Trapp family home.  My friend, Kyle, who is the German teacher at our school, has been there.  He said that the one thing he was looking forward to seeing was the gazebo where they filmed “Sixteen going on Seventeen.”  He was quite upset when, instead of seeing the gazebo, he found an ice cream stand.  Damn them money-makers capitalizing on tourists seeking an escape from the non-heat of an Austrian summer day.

By the way, I love the gazebo scene.  I love the “Sixteen going on Seventeen” song, the dance, the characters (even Rolf was good at that point).  The only part of that song that I LOATHE is after Rolf kisses Liesel and she squeals as he runs away.  Of course, that could be because my first kiss was rather gross because I thought a slug was on my mouth.  Not romantic.

Today, I truly loved watching Julie Andrews singing with Christopher Plummer about how, when she was a child, she “must have done something good.”  I loved how, at one point, all we saw were their silhouettes.  They stood at opposing sides of the door, their hands clasped together in front of each other., singing, “And here you are, standing there, loving me.  Whether or not you should.”  And then, slowly, they start coming towards one another and their arms, hands still clasped, lower, and their heads come closer together.

For a moment, they make a heart.

See, I really can be romantic, too.

I loved how Plummer gently kissed Andrews on the forehead, how she rested her head on his shoulder.  Of course, I also know that Plummer apparently hates this movie which bugs me because I believe in this love that is spilling out across the screen.

Today, I was forty-three going on seventeen and falling in love all over again.  I watched the movie with a whole new perspective and loved the cinematography that somehow managed to get Julie Andrews eyes to sparkle, literally.

Today was walking down the paths of my childhood when I saw Salzburg which I haven’t visited since 1998. Today was also about re-living a movie that I have loved throughout my childhood and young adulthood because it has been a long time since I last saw The Sound of Music.

Today was also about honoring my mother-in-law who really is a mom to me.  She can never replace my mother.  I also don’t need her to replace my mother.  I need my mother-in-law to be just that, my mother-in-law.

I wish there was a way that I could thank Steven more publicly and with more sincere appreciation than just this post.  I hope that he reads it.  This gift was wonderful because it gave me a chance to re-walk down roads I didn’t know I wanted or needed to explore.

Thank you, Steven.  Love you!  Mean it!

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