We got to the business of moving backpacks and pillows and Rip Stiks from my van to his truck. Conor played in the dirt, happy to move his body. I gave Adam (my ex) school pictures of the kids, and delighted in his expression of how they are growing up, and how beautiful they all are. I think so too. On that, we've always agreed. Then, there was a hushed stir, and everyone seemed to know something was up, except me. He brought me over to the bed of his truck, where the kids all gathered with huge, knowing grins on their faces, and Adam produced a huge box from inside his truck. He put Conor into the truck and told Conor to help me open my present. I was really confused.
He said this was my Christmas present from him and the kids and they had all decided to give it to me early so that I could have it for the holidays. Not expecting anything at all like this to happen, I started tearing paper. What I saw confused me even more. A huge Kitchen Aid box. I didn't dare think that an actual Kitchen Aid mixer was in the box, but rather, by a cruel twist of circumstance, whatever it was had been packaged inside this taunting box. But, sure enough, inside the box was an actual Kitchen Aid mixer. In a beautiful gloss cinnamon color, in a bigger and better model than I ever dreamed possible, and it was mine. Adam took it out of the box so I could see it, in all its glory.
I just stood there, with my hand over my mouth. The kids started to laugh. Adam made a speech on behalf of all of them. He said that I have spent most of my life being a mom and doing and giving for everyone else, and that there is no remuneration for being a mom. They had decided they wanted to do something to show their appreciation for all I've done as a mother. Still, I just stood there. In complete shock. On a dirt exit, just off of I-10. I looked at my kids and asked, "You knew about this?" Sure enough. They'd known about it, planned it, and contributed towards it. Lyndsay told me how they picked the color that looked most like a cranberry red, instead of a bright red, and how this color, gloss cinnamon, is a new color, and they all liked it better than the other red. (It is gorgeous!) They showed off how big the bowl is, how many watts the motor has, how much flour it can handle. Still I just stood there, not being able to take in how my entire state of consciousness had now changed.
I mean, maybe this sounds silly, but for almost 20 years I have wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer. To me, a Kitchen Aid meant you had arrived. You were a real mother, a real wife, a real woman, a real baker. I would accept no substitutes, so I just lived without a stand mixer, and kept it on my Amazon wish list. Hoping. Dreaming. I'd look at them lovingly in every department store, hoping one day one would be mine. My sisters all have one. (In fact, one of my sisters has two!) My mom finally got one. I do a lot of baking, but I kept holding out, doing my best with my hand mixer (which, incidentally, is a Kitchen Aid too, just for good measure.) And now, right before my eyes is my own Kitchen Aid? I don't even know how to think like a Kitchen Aid owner! I have identified myself as a woman, mother, daughter, Kitchen Aid-wanter, for so long, that I don't even know how to wrap my brain around this new identity!
Then, as it dawned on me, I began to cry. Everyone hugged me. I thanked them over and over and over again. It was the end of an era. The Kitchen Aid Longing Era. Twenty years! (well, nineteen, but still.) Adam said, "I know you've wanted this for 20 years, and I've always wanted to get you one." Even he knew! I was amazed. Lyndsay beamed. The boys were still grinning. Dylan loaded the mixer into the back of my van, and after goodbyes, and some more thank you's and hugs, Conor and I drove away, back towards the ocean, while Adam took the three older kids further into the desert. I still couldn't believe what had just happened to me. See how dramatic I am? But see, so far in my life, I have never been in a position to buy a Kitchen Aid for myself. I've wanted one so much, but have had to hope that someday life would provide a way. And it had. Appreciation from my ex-husband and the three children I share with him brought a Kitchen Aid mixer into my life!
As I drove down the road a bit, I was overwhelmed with excitement and gratitude. I called Adam and the kids and left a message. "I can't believe it!" I shouted. "Thank you so, so much! This is one of the most thoughtful things that anyone has ever done for me! Thank you! I LOVE my mixer!" They called back with a united "You're WELCOME!" into the phone.
I got home after dark. Still raining. My Adam carried the mixer into the house and set it on the counter. Wow! Amazing to see it there. For the next two days, every time I came into the kitchen, it took my breath away. And last night, Conor and I decided to use the bananas to make some banana bread. It was so much fun!