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Welcome to a New Episode of… My Parents Are in Town for a Week!

OK, you tell me. What do parents normally bring on an airplane when coming to visit their lovely daughter and grandchildren?

I’d say nothing but their luggage and some empty peanut wrappers.

Not my Mom!

She brought us presents–and lots of them.

Next question.

If your parents were so inclined, what do you think they would bring? It’s a question I posed to friends at a 50th birthday dinner party last night.

They answered:
1. Toys for the kids? Wait, they’re too old for toys.
2. Sweaters from Santa? No, it’s not Christmas yet. Plus, they’d mail the sweaters, not lug them on a plane.
3. A piece of art? Almost every inch of wall space is already filled.

living room

Ninety-nine paintings and art on the wall, Ninety-nine paintings and art. Inspiration by Pinterest!













They were wrong on all counts…

What did I get?


That’s right, my mother bought, folded, packed, and transported seven very bright yellow washcloths all the way from North Carolina to New York just for me!

wash cloths

Seven screaming yellow washcloths and a partridge in a pear tree.


“Are you serious mom?” I asked expecting her to laugh. But serious she was. “George and I just love these wash cloths, honey. You and the girls will too.”

Was she trying to hint that our faces were dirty or something?

“Girls!” I called out, exiting the bathroom where I’d gone to check my face in the mirror. “Come see the wash cloths that Gramma and Poppy brought you all the way from North Carolina!”

The girls stood there not knowing whether to laugh at a missed joke or gush thank yous.

“They must be imported from another country or something,” Susannah whispered to Nell.

“Yeah, like from hell,” Nell jokingly said under her breath.

“Look at what else Gramma brought you!” my mom said excitedly as she handed me the next present…a box of Christmas tree lights.

“They’re the colored lights, you know,” she told me conspiratorially as if they were smuggled straight off a North Pole Christmas tree.

“I see that. Colored Christmas tree lights. It says so right there on the box. Thank you!” I said, again, wondering if she was somehow concerned that without the lights, there would be no tree at all.  I admit to leaving the trees of Christmas past home alone for the past six years while we escape the holiday itself, often opting for the ski slopes, but I wouldn’t dream of not putting up a tree to begin with. I do have some holiday standards ya know.


And the Lord said, let there be colored lights. And there were.












Next out of the giant bag of luggage came this. A box of battery powered candles.

front of candle box 272394






“I got them at Goodwill,” my Mom exclaimed excitedly, pleased with her bargain hunting prowess.

Then there was her extra bottle of Prilosec in case all the holiday parties got the best of me:


Too bad the prescription didn’t begin with a V!











This one cracked me up. She’d saved one of my kindergarten art projects — a turkey! Or is that a chicken?


Circa 1968











Just when I thought all the fun was over, she handed me a silk pouch.

“Go ahead. Open it,” she said with a sly smile.

It was filled with jewelry, including the girls’ great grandmother’s diamond and opal cocktail ring. That’s when I burst into tears. She knows how much I miss my wedding rings which were stolen by a contractor a few years after my husband passed away. Even if they were insured and even if I had new ones made to look exactly like the old ones, they would never be the same. And while I am not materialistic, I felt a hole in my heart close when I put Olga’s ring on my finger.









Almost on cue, there was a knock on the door. A delivery man handed me a box of long-stemmed red roses from my parents with a beautiful card telling me how much they love me.

I love them too.


See? Everything comes up roses!













Cover photo credit: Getty Images



  1. Mel Goldstein says:

    How lucky you aree Laura, to be so well thought of to gett those magnificent gifts. How are the wash clothe doing? Maybe someone could write a song about the yellow wash cloths, instead of the yellow submarine!
    Always nice to hear from you. Keep on writing. How is the book coming along?
    Regards to your two young ladies.

  2. Peter Shafran says:

    What are you going to do with the washcloths?

  3. Sarah says:

    I’m such a fan.. Keep writing lady!! Xo

  4. Joe P. says:

    Fun read. Merry Christmas to you and the girls. Sorry that contractor was a scumbag. Karma will come and get him. Your mom is my kind of lady. I sometimes pack a washcloth and towel when I travel, not knowing if my hosts have the good stuff.

  5. Marisol says:

    Laura – another wonderful story. I loved it.
    Have a Merry Christmas my friend. Looking forward to 2016 and your writing. Be blessed ❤️

  6. Kate says:

    Sweet Shirley!

  7. Ron says:

    Those washcloths look awfully familiar

  8. Wendy says:

    Mom always gives something old or funny, along with a nice gift. Remember the DiVincensio mirror? Lolololol

  9. Valerie Aubry says:

    As a gift-giving challenged parent, I’m relieved to hear that there’s hope for us all.

    Great piece!