"The Mother Christmas - California Edition"

posted Dec 29, 2011, 10:12 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Jan 4, 2012, 8:28 PM ]

“Two mothers in one week. We are good sons,” Erick comments as he and Chris walk up to his mother and grandmother’s house.

“We should qualify for sainthood,” Chris replies cheekily as Erick unlocks the door and they walk in.

Erick and Chris spent Christmas in Ohio with Chris’s mother and sister. On Christmas Day, Erick dutifully called his mother. She asked him how things were going and if he was being treated well. He made the mistake of mentioning the early tension between him and Chris’s mother, to which his mother responded by asking if he and Chris would like to come over for a delayed Christmas dinner when they got back to town.

“Bea? Estelle? We’re here,” Erick announces as he and Chris walk through the foyer.

“Hello, my sweet babies!” Erick’s mother says cheerfully as she walks out of the kitchen and rounds the corner. Taking a cue from Clair Huxtable herself, she’s wearing a lacy floral print apron over a dark blue dress. “Merry Delayed Christmas to you both!”

“Merry Delayed Christmas to you too, Mom,” a surprised Erick responds as he and his mother give each other a hug and a kiss.

Erick’s mother turns to Chris and gives him a hug and a kiss. “Hello, Chris! It’s so good to see you!”

“Thanks for having me, Stephanie,” Chris replies.

“It is my pleasure,” Stephanie replies. She takes the two of them by the arm and walks them into the living room. “I made some appetizers for you two while I’m finishing dinner,” she informs them as she scuttles into the kitchen.

Erick and Chris take off their coats. Erick takes Chris’s coat, hangs his jacket on the coat rack and then hangs Chris’s jacket over his. He and Chris slowly make their way over to the couch, sit down and look around in astonishment at the explosion of holiday cheer blanketing every inch of what is usually a beige wall with a few knick-knacks, paintings and family photos hanging on it. “She must still be going through the change,” Erick jokes.

“What is with our mothers this week?” Chris asks.

“I don’t know. I haven’t a clue as to what to make of mine right now.”

“Well, mine was certainly in rare form.”

“But at least she came around -- somewhat. I hate to think where my mother is going to go with all this.”

Stephanie walks out of the kitchen and into the living with a plate of cocktail shrimp, places it on a dinner tray and sets it between Erick and Chris. “Here you guys go. We also have ham, which I know Erick loves. Do you like ham, Chris?”

Chris looks at Erick for a moment and then looks back at Stephanie. “Um…yeah. I don’t eat it much, but yes.”

“That’s alright. We also have BBQ pork chops, green beans and Swedish meatballs with sticky rice and gravy. I actually hand rolled the meatballs myself instead of buying a bag of them.”

Erick looks at Chris for a moment and then looks back at Stephanie. “Thanks, Mom. You didn’t have to go through all this trouble.”

“Don’t be silly, child. You are my son and this is your…um…boy…man...friend…Chris. And this is Christmas. Sorta. I also made a veggie platter. I’ll be right back with that.”

Erick watches as his mother scurries off once again. He hears his grandmother shuffling down the hallway toward the living room. He and Chris get up off the couch to greet her. “Hey, granny!” Erick says as he leans down to give her a hug.

“Hey, E! Happy whatever your mother is concocting today,” Jackie responds. She then reaches up to give Chris a hug. “Happy whatever this is to you too, Chris.”

“Thanks Miss Jackie. How are you feeling?”

Jackie walks over and sits on a nearby recliner as Erick and Chris sit back down. “I’m doin’ alright for an old lady. My feet hurt sometimes and I hate this cane, but it’s better than the alternative,” she answers with a wink.

“Indeed, Miss Jackie,” Chris replies as he and Erick help themselves to a few cocktail shrimp.

Stephanie comes back out of the kitchen with the veggie platter. “Mother, please don’t talk these boys’ ears off. They need to eat. They’ve been traveling all week and need their strength,” she says as she places the veggie platter on another dinner tray and places it between Erick and Chris.

Jackie brushes Stephanie off. “How was Ohio, Erick?” she asks.

“It started off shaky, but Chris’s mother and I were able to come to some sort of understanding by the time we left yesterday morning,” Erick explains.

“That’s good. Stephanie, can you bring me a plate?” Jackie asks. “I’d like some vegetables.”

Stephanie goes back into the kitchen and retrieves three plates and a handful of napkins. She hands a plate to Erick and Chris and places the napkins near the veggie platter. She then puts some celery, carrots and ranch dressing on the remaining plate and hands it over to Jackie.

“So what happened between you and Chris’s mother?” Jackie asks.

“Nothing that had anything to do with me,” Erick replies.

“She’s just not all that thrilled with the fact that I bring home Ericks instead of Ericas,” Chris adds.

“She sounds like Stephanie,” Jackie chides.

“What are you talking about, Mother?” Stephanie asks innocently. “I have no problem with the fact that Erick is gay.”

“Maybe so, but that’s not the same as not having a problem with Erick bringing home a Chris instead of a Christina.”

Stephanie chuckles emptily. “And living at home is not the same as being sent to live in one,” she retorts with another chuckle and a phony smile.

Jackie brushes Stephanie off again. “I ain’t thinkin’ about you, child.”

“So, Mom…what’s with all this hoopla?” Erick asks.

“What hoopla?”

“The decorations.”

“I always decorate for Christmas.”

“Yes, but this year you kinda overdecorated.”

“When it comes to the birth of our Lord and a visitation from my firstborn son, there’s no such thing.”

Erick shoots Chris a disbelieving look. “Then what’s with the Clair Huxtable routine?” he pushes further.

“Well, remember when you told me you wanted her to be your mother?”

“I was twelve.”

“Well, Merry Christmas – 22 years later.”

“What’s going on here, Mom?”

“Nothing. I just wanted my son and his boy…man…friend…Chris…person here for some part of Christmas.”

Erick shoots Chris another disbelieving look. “When did you put this together?”

“I’ve had this planned since after Thanksgiving.”

“How long after?”

“Not long.”

“Erick, these walls were as they always are until about three days ago,” Jackie chimes in. Erick knowingly nods his head.

Stephanie slowly turns her head in Jackie’s direction and narrows her eyes. “Most people your age are going senile. Why don’t you join them?”

Jackie grabs her cane, raises it and shakes it in Stephanie’s direction. “You ain’t too old.”

“And you ain’t too young,” Stephanie rebuts, brushing Jackie off. She sits down on the edge of the couch next to Chris. “So Erick, did you wind up having a good time with Chris’s mother?”

A faint smile creeps across Erick’s face and he shakes his head lightly. “All in all, Mom, I have to say ‘no’.”

“Well then, it’s a good thing you are here,” Stephanie replies as she gets up and goes back into the kitchen to check on dinner.

Chris turns around and looks quizzically at Erick. “Why’d you tell her that?” he asks.

“Because I can’t bear to watch her jockeying for position of ‘Favored Mother’.”