It's the day of the year that, I dare say, is just about a religious holiday in our home: Oscar Night! This is the day that probably has the most interesting memories tied up with it, more so than any other day of the year. Christmases come and go, with each tree looking more or less the same. But Oscar night....oh my, now that's a totally different animal.
When my vacation-phobic hubby announced that he had to be in London for some sort of business one particular year, I was NOT about to allow him to go alone! I don't even know where to begin on how very wrong it would be for him to be in London, my absolutely most favorite place in the world, and me home with three crazy kids? Was he nuts???? Huh. In his dreams was he going without me.
Well, I finally talked him into a family vacation, offering to fly out with the three young kids on my own once his conference was over. My children, the youngest seven years old at the time, the next eight and thus the oldest nine, turned on ME! You see, though this was months in advance, they knew exactly which night the Oscar's would be on. I looked at them askance, wondering if these kids were in fact children and not some sorts of aliens as my youngest turned away from me to a quick huddle of "the three" and heaven only knows what they said.
Oh what turncoats! They wanted it understood that they were not about to leave the good old US of A if it meant missing Oscar. As I tried to overhear what was being said - this WAS my chance to go to England about to disappear, after all! - I heard little murmurs of "VCR, but that wouldn't be live," muttered by someone. Finally the seven year old turned to me and said, "Mom, you can call and find out if they're going to show the Oscar's in London. I think they have movies there too?" Ahhhh....out of the mouth of babes! With that he went off to call the airlines to find out which movies would be shown during the flights. I had absolutely no idea you could call and find out about these sorts of things but my munchkins knew, and how to do it, too. Oh, if ONLY I were exaggerating.
Well, we rented a flat and it was a wonderful time that we had, including watching the Oscar's. The kids and hubby would go out and I stayed in, blissfully reading in bed most of our two weeks in London. And hubby, at the suggestion of the kids, "hired" a wheelchair for me. Well, there was no going back after that! The Brits were so wonderful about a wheelchair and we were given such a spectacular behind-the-scenes tour at Kensington Palace and special treats at Nottingham because of my embarrassingly uncooperative body that my kids thought they should drag out old mom in a wheelchair for everything!
But I digress. Back to Oscar. We had a cat, whom hubby called "the million dollar cat" because as a kitten she became extremely sick and instead of following our vet's advice and putting her to sleep, we sent her to Columbus' vet school for hospitalization and testing where her bills were, understandably, phenomenal. Misty was our miracle cat whom we had for over 12 years, who needed chemo every day, which was almost the least of her problems. She was a very sweet cat and always wanted to be where the action was, wherever that might be, but never IN the action, just a bit off to the side. Not on Oscar night, however! On that night, the kids would pile into my king-sized bed with me, hubby in his usual wing chair next to the bed, and Misty, for one day a year only, would want to be with us, center stage, literally and appropriately.
When my daughter went off to college, the day the Oscar's rolled around was the day that I truly felt my "empty nest syndrome" at its worst. Only years later did I discover that my daughter also missed seeing the Oscar's in my bed. She tried to make it home for the "holiday" but it just didn't work out. Monday morning classes and all....
Just a few years ago, I had hubby bring a table up to the bedroom and my oldest came over to watch with us. I had just started into my Jonny Bowden's "150 Healthiest Foods" book, my latest food program...if the food wasn't in there, I wasn't eatin' it! That night I had organic clementines for the first time, as well as organic high cocoa content dark chocolate, creamy French Brie.... Oh, that was a particularly good Oscar year.
Looking back, I think one of the reasons that Oscar night was a biggie in our home was that that was one night when mom was a real mom and all of us piling into my bed in front of the TV wasn't "weird." I wasn't in a state of guilt or torment that I was in my usual long nightgown attire. Some of Hollywood's finest appeared to be attired similarly, though just a tad more glamorously.
We've not had a whole night of "us five" together for Oscar Night in a long time, but as we watch part of the show tonight, wherever "we five" may be, I just know that the best part now is the memories of this most quirky night. Last year my daughter ordered "petit fours," which I'd not had since prom night of 1970, and not a fan of them then. But my daughter's petit fours were special. These had movie-themed decorations on each, which she'd ordered from somewhere for an ungodly amount of money...but when I tried them, they were bliss, melting in my mouth with layers and layers of delicate flavors revealing themselves slowly and richly.
This year, we may not be together for the entire Oscar ceremony but I'm sure I'll send a play-by-play for a couple of hours via Facebook to the kid now living in Malaysia and I may be on the phone for parts of it with my daughter. But it'll still be special, even as my hubby falls asleep next to me, denying he'd been snoozing.