Mother's Day

Daria looked at the clock on the microwave. It was getting later in the morning. They really needed to get moving.

Daria shouted down the hall.

“Quinn, would you please hurry up. We have reservations for lunch and the Grands are expecting us to be there on time.”

Quinn came out of her room wearing a pink dress.

“Sorry, I couldn’t decide what to wear. I have to look special today you know.”

“Just like her mother.” Daria thought.

As they got into the car, Daria carefully put the flowers in the back seat so they would not be damaged. Looking up for a second, she saw Quinn buckling herself into the front seat.

“Quinn. Did you get the cards you made?” Daria asked.

She reached into her purse, pulled out two small pieces of folded paper and showed them to Daria.

“Yes. They’re right here.”

The drive was normal. They didn’t speak very much but that was nothing odd. Daria had never been a chatterbox and while her sister had always had something to say her daughter had obviously inherited a few traits from her Dad. Finally Quinn spoke.

“So where are we going to eat?”

“A place called the Carlton. It's Grandma’s favorite restaurant. She used to eat there a good bit when we first moved to Lawndale. I believe she called it ‘Briefs and Bagels’.”

Quinn turned to look at her aunt. “What do they serve there?” she asked.

“Lots of stuff.” Daria said.

“Do you think they have grilled cheese sandwiches?”

Daria shook her head and thought. “We’re eating at a five-star restaurant and she wants something even I can make.” Out loud, she said, “I’m sure they do but they’ll probably have other things you might want to try. Just wait until we get there and you can look at the menu. Okay?”


Quinn turned around and looked in the back seat.

“Do you think Grandma will like the flowers?”

“I’m sure she will.”

When they got to their first destination, Quinn was the first one out of the car. She raced ahead of Daria. As she got about halfway down the path, she turned around to see her aunt just getting out.

“A.D.? Aren't you coming?”

Daria looked at her.

“Yes. I’ll be there in a second. I just need to get something. You go on ahead.”


With that, Quinn continued on her way.

When Daria got what she was looking for she turned to see Quinn sitting there telling all about what had happened in her life since the last visit. What she had done with A.D., how school was going, and all the adventures she had shared with her friends. Daria watched this with amusement. It was nice when she could share her life with her family.

As Daria approached the scene, Quinn stood up and ran toward her. When Quinn was next to her, Daria looked down at her niece. “So did you do everything you wanted?” she asked.

Quinn looked back at her with a smile.

“Sure did. Are you ready to go?”

“Not just yet. Why don’t you go ahead and get buckled in? I’ll be there in a minute.”

As Quinn ran toward the car Daria walked to the grave. When she reached the headstone she turned to look at her niece getting in the car and smiled. Turning to face the marker, she leaned over and put a single pink rose on top of the card Quinn had left.

As she turned to leave, she stopped for a moment to look at the grave one more time.

“Thanks sis. Happy Mother’s Day.”

When she got back into the car, Quinn was all buckled in. After she started the car Daria heard a noise that made her cringe. She turned to look at Quinn.

“You didn’t.”

Quinn looked up at her aunt with a smirk that completely betrayed any attempt to feign innocence. This was a game they had played many times so she didn’t even try to hide what she had done.

As Daria pressed the stop button she looked at Quinn with great irritation.

“I’ve told you more times than I care to think about. If you want to listen to this stuff bring your player and headphones. Otherwise leave it in your room.”

Quinn rolled her eyes, sighed and said, “Okay.”

As a rule, the pair traveled pretty well together but there was always one point where the journey was prone to break down, the choice of traveling music. Quinn liked stuff geared to her own age while Daria naturally was nauseated by the crap the music companies tried to force on girls her age. Quinn of course couldn’t stand the stuff her aunt preferred to listen to. The usual solution was either Quinn brought her player along or they just listened to news. Today they went with option three, no radio at all.

The remainder of the drive into Lawndale was pretty quiet with just the occasional recognition of something unusual on the side of the road. Just outside the city limits, the drive became anything other than routine when a truck suddenly entered the highway from a side road and cut in front of the car. Daria slammed on the brakes and swerved.

As the car screeched to a halt in the center median of the highway Daria felt something wet strike her in the back of her head. It didn’t hurt but it didn’t feel good either. Immediately she turned to look at Quinn.

“Are you okay?”

Quinn was shaken but otherwise seemed fine. To her it seemed A.D. was more upset than she was. Quinn nodded to let A.D. know she was fine.


After putting the car into park, Daria stopped to collect her thoughts. The close call left her pretty shaken up. It was a situation very much like this that brought Quinn into her life. While she had been home with a sitter the night she lost her parents, it bothered to think Daria that this might bring back bad memories for her. She turned to look at Quinn again to see how she was doing. When she looked, she was surprised to see her niece turned around staring at the back seat.

“Quinn? What are you doing?” Daria asked.

“Just looking at the flowers.”

“What do you mean?”

“They’re all over the back of the car.”

Daria turned around. Sure enough the force of stopping the car so suddenly had knocked the vase off the back seat and scattered the arrangement all over the rear of the car. Daria figured that was what she felt on the back of her head. Reaching up, she felt her hair. There was something there. Grabbing it, she pulled it out of her hair and looked at it. Sure enough it was a leaf from one of the stems.

“Dammit.” she thought as she reached down to straighten the vase. “I had to custom order this one too.”

Quinn looked at her aunt. She could see A.D. was upset but she wasn’t sure if it was about the truck or the flowers.


“Yes Quinn?”

“Are you mad?”

Daria stopped for a second. The distraction of the flowers had made her forget about Quinn. She turned back around in her seat and leaned her head back.

Sighing, Daria said, “No. I’m not mad. I’m just upset. That jerk almost made us crash and the flowers we got for Grandma are ruined. It just seems no Mother’s Day goes right.”

She straightened her head and turned to look at Quinn.

“Are you really okay?”

Quinn looked back at her aunt. She didn’t know why she asked that again. She had already said so but to reassure her she’d let her know again.

“Yes I'm fine but don’t you think we should be getting to the Grands?”

It was then Daria realized they were parked on the left side of the highway. That was just as dangerous as what the idiot who helped them get there had done. She fastened her seat belt, started the car and pulled back on the road. As she got back to speed she spoke up.

“Quinn. Do me a favor and don’t mention this to the Grands okay?”

Quinn looked out the window for a second then back at her aunt.

“You want me to lie?”

“No. We’ll tell them, just not today. It’s Grandma’s special day. We don’t want to ruin it with bad stories. Do you understand?”

Nodding, Quinn said. “Yes.”

The remainder of the trip was uneventful and in short order they were in front of the Grand’s house. Once more Quinn was the first out of the car. Almost as if on cue, the front door opened the moment she stepped onto the porch. In an instant she was hugging her grandmother.

“Hi Grandma. Happy Mother’s Day.”

Helen released her granddaughter and looked at her.

“Thanks Sweetheart. Each time I see you you get prettier.”

As she looked at Quinn, Helen became distracted by Daria who was still at her car. She had opened the back door and was doing something but she couldn’t make out what.

Turning her attention for her granddaughter to her daughter, Helen asked, “Daria? Is everything alright?”

Daria stood up and turned around.

“Yes Mom. I just have to clean up a little mess. I’ll be there in a minute. You two go on in.”

As the pair went inside, Daria returned to trying to at least get the biggest part of the mess cleaned up. Grabbing the ruined stems and cramming them into the vase she was getting more and more upset. Without knowing it she suddenly started uttering “Dammit, Dammit, Dammit...”

A few minutes later, a more composed Daria entered the house with a very sad looking arrangement of flowers. Helen saw her face with that defeated look she knew so well. She knew something had happened, but what?

“Daria? Is everything okay?” Helen asked.

“Not really.” Daria said. “We got these for you but as you can see they didn’t quite survive the journey. Sorry.”

Helen knew this had to be a bad story so she decided she should just avoid it until Daria was ready to share.

“That’s okay honey. These things happen.”

Daria just stood there for a second looking at her mother. Finally, she said, “Uh. I’m just going to throw this away. I’ll be right back.”

Helen gave her daughter a smile to try to reassure her things were okay. “Well save the vase. I can use it. It’s very pretty.” She said.

“I guess it wasn’t a total loss then.” Daria thought.

As she entered the kitchen, Daria saw Jake sitting at the table. As usual, he was working on the Sunday edition of the paper. He never even noticed her as she walked past him and out the back door. A minute later she came back in, placed the vase on the table, and sat down.

“Hi Dad.”

Jake put the paper down and looked at her daughter.

“Oh Hi Daria. Nice vase. You get that for Helen?”

Daria gave a brief smile and thought, “Still playing the clueless game. That’s Dad.”

She turned to look at him. “You might say that.” she said.

“That’s great.” Jake said. “You want part of the paper?” he asked.

Figuring it might help her forget the events from earlier, she sat down and started reading the arts section. Eventually Helen and Quinn entered the kitchen. Upon seeing pair sitting at the table Helen smiled.

“Well it’s nice to see some things never change.”

Daria put down the paper.

“Oh sorry. We got occupied.”

“Of course.” Helen said. She had to deal with this for so long she knew there was no reason to get upset. In fact she would have been more shocked if they hadn’t been sitting at the table reading.

“I hate to interrupt but it’s getting pretty close to the reservation time. Don’t you think we should get going?”

Daria looked at the clock. Only then did she realize they had been there for almost an hour.

“Yes. I hope you don’t mind, but my car is still a little messed up.” Daria said. “Can we go in yours?”

“Of course.” Helen said.

Daria stood up and put her hand on Jake’s shoulder.


Jake out the paper down and looked up at his daughter, “Yes.” he said.

“We’re ready to go.”


Jake stood up and started heading toward the door. Helen stopped him before he could get outside.

“Jake. Leave the paper here.”

Tossing the folded newspaper on the table, Jake bent his head. “Aww.”

Daria whispered in his ear. “Don’t worry. It’ll be here when we get back.”

As the four went out to get in the car Helen gave Daria the keys. “Sweetie, Do you mind driving?”

Daria got in the car. Quinn and Helen took the back seat and Jake sat next to her. Once everyone had buckled in, Daria started the car and backed into the street. When she started down the road Jake spoke up.

“Uh Kiddo. Why aren’t we in your car?”

The drive to the Carlton was pretty short. When they got there, Daria parked and they went into the restaurant. Their timing was pretty good and they were seated quickly.

The Carlton prided itself on its service as much as the quality of its food. As soon as they were seated, a waiter came over and offered them a menu. Everyone looked at the menu but it was pretty useless. They had all made up their mind. Every time they came here they ordered the same thing and Quinn saw what she wanted on the menu right away. All that was left was for the waiter to return and take their order. When the waiter left with their requests Quinn reached into her purse and pulled out a piece of paper.


Helen turned her attention to her granddaughter “Yes Quinn?”

“I made this for you.”

Helen took the card and read what Quinn had written.

“Oh Sweetheart, this is wonderful. Thank you so much. I love you too.”

Jake took that as his cue. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out a tiny wrapped package.

“Helen. I was going to wait until we got home but this looks like the best time.”

Taking it, Helen carefully opened the box. When she saw what it was, he could barely speak from emotion. Finally she managed to say,  “Jake this is wonderful.”

Quinn looked at her.

“What is it Grandma?”

Helen pulled out the chain and showed it to Quinn. On the end was a small cameo with a silhouette.

Quinn moved in close for a good look. “That’s pretty.” she said.

Helen showed it to Daria.

“It’s beautiful.” Daria said.

Helen looked at Jake. As clueless as he appeared it was these moments that reminded her why she married him.

“Thank you so much. How did you manage it?” she asked.

“I just took that silhouette of you from when you were about Quinn’s age to the jeweler. He said it would be no problem. The hard part was not telling you for the last three months.”

As Helen put the necklace on, she looked at him and smiled. “Well it’s beautiful. I’ll never take it off.”

This was almost more than Daria could handle. Everyone had the perfect thing and her perfect gift was currently housed in three different locations, the kitchen table, a garbage can and the floorboard of the back seat of her car.

Daria finally spoke.

“Uh Mom. I’m sorry the flowers I got for you were ruined. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”

Helen looked at her daughter. Even after all these years she was still so insecure at times.

“Don't worry dear.” She said. “I’m sure it was an accident. I love the vase but the best gift is seeing you and Quinn. It’s a treat each time you come home.”

This made Daria feel a little better. Not much better, but her mind was put a little more at ease.

Just then the waiter returned with their orders, three chef’s salads and one grilled cheese sandwich. Daria looked at Quinn and shook her head. She hoped she would try something different but every time they ate out it was the same thing. As they were preparing to start their meal Jake picked up the small cup with the dressing. Helen grabbed his wrist and looked at him.

“Jake you’ve had your share of that for this week. Put it down.”

Jake put the cup down. “Aww.”

Daria spoke up. “Here try my vinaigrette. It’s pretty good and isn’t as bad for you.”

Jake picked up the cup and poured a little on his salad. He saw Helen was occupied with her salad and under his breath uttered, “I can’t wait until Father’s Day. I'm gonna eat a steak and watch her stop me.”

Daria smiled to herself. Even with the heart attack and the bypass surgery it was tough for her dad to stop wanting those foods that would do him the least good.

As they ate the conversation moved between all the things that had been happening in their lives. Daria hoped the subject of how the flowers got ruined wouldn't come up. As they finished the meal she was relieved that it didn't.

When they left the restaurant, Daria once again drove. As she pulled out of the parking lot Quinn suddenly spoke up.

“That’s the truck! A.D.. That’s the truck that drove us off the road!”

Helen looked at her daughter and asked, “Daria. What is Quinn talking about?”

She hated to tell but she had no option. She proceeded to relay the information about what had happened. Helen and Jake were shocked but both remained calm. After Daria had finished Helen spoke.

“Oh I’m so sorry. So that’s how the flowers were ruined. Don’t worry about that. I’m just happy that you two are fine.”

Daria looked in the mirror and saw Helen’s reflection. In spite of her words, she saw the concern in her mom’s eyes. She knew if Mom heard what had happened she would be upset. After she had already lost one child this way it would be too much to know it had almost happened again. She looked over at Jake. Dad had that look on his face. The therapy had helped a great deal but this looked like it would be one of those times when it was going to fail. She knew he was trying to figure out what he could do. Somehow she needed to calm him down.

“Dad. That wasn’t the truck.” she said. “It just looked like it.”

Looking over at him, she hoped this would work.

He looked back at her. “Are you sure?” he asked.

“Yes.” Daria said. She really wasn’t sure of that but this would hopefully be enough to soothe him.

It seemed to work. A few moments later she heard a calm voice say. “Okay.”

The rest of the drive home was very quiet. Quinn’s outburst had made everyone think. The three adults thought about the fact that Quinn was now without her parents and how if anything had been even a little different they might have lost someone else. Quinn on the other hand was thinking about getting back to the Grand’s house so she could play a little more. She didn’t understand why everyone was so upset. They were fine and that was that mattered.

When they got to the house, Daria pulled into the garage. As soon as the engine was off, Quinn was out of the car and heading upstairs to her mother's old room. Jake and Helen had turned it into a playroom several years ago when they learned about their daughter being pregnant. For them the room held memories, a few bad but more good. For Quinn it was a fun place with plenty to do.

As the rest entered the house, Helen said she wanted to go upstairs and change. Jake sat back at the table, retrieved his paper and started reading. He looked up at Daria and asked, “Want part of the paper?”

“No. I really need to go out and finish cleaning the car before it gets too bad.”

Turning his attention to the paper, Jake said, “Okay. I’ll be here if you need me.”

With that, Jake went back to reading and Daria went outside.

Upstairs, Quinn was occupied with a puzzle when she heard something strange. Getting up, she went toward the noise. Looking into the Grand’s bedroom she saw her Grandma sitting on the edge of the bed crying.


Helen looked up. Seeing Quinn, she tried to regain her composure.

“Yes Sweetheart?”

“Are you okay?” Quinn asked.

“I'm fine dear.”

“Then why are you crying?”

Helen looked at Quinn. She had grown so much. Every time she saw her, she looked more like her mother. Helen decided she should begin treating her older.

“I miss your mother.” she said.

Quinn walked over to Helen sat next to her.

Looking up at her grandma, Quinn said, “I miss her too. But why are you crying?”

Helen put her arm around Quinn.

“It’s just you remind me of her so much. I love you and never want to see anything happen to you.”

Quinn wasn’t sure what Grandma was talking about. She sat there for a second. After a little time had passed she thought she might know what Grandma had meant.

“Is this because of the truck?” she asked.

Helen was shocked. How could an eleven year old figure that out so fast?


Quinn smiled. “Don't be sad.” she said. “We’re fine.”

“But it could have been so different. I mean it’s how...”

She suddenly stopped talking. Helen realized she was about to say the wrong thing. She didn’t want to bring up the past. Before she could change the subject Quinn said, “Mom and Dad died?”

Helen bowed her head.


Quinn moved closer to her grandma. Helen wrapped her arm around her even tighter.

“I know they died in a car wreck but I was with A.D.” Quinn said. “She won’t let anything happen to me.”

Helen smiled at hearing that.

“She takes good care of you doesn’t she?”

Quinn smiled. “She’s great.”

“So have you done anything for her today?” Helen asked.


Helen repeated the question. “Did you do anything for her today?”

“I don’t understand.”

Helen looked at Quinn and smiled.

“Well it’s a special day. Did you do anything to let her know how you feel?”

Quinn shook her head. “No.”

“Why not?”

Quinn thought for a second.

“I guess I never thought about it that way.” she said. “I mean it’s called Mother’s Day, not Aunt’s Day."

“A child’s logic.” Helen thought.  Looking at Quinn, she asked, “Well doesn’t she take care of you?”


“Does she do a good job?” Helen asked.


“Then don’t you think you should do something to let her know how you feel?”

Quinn had never considered that. She had been living with A.D for a few years and things were nice there. She did take good care of her and made sure she was always around when she needed her.

Looking at her grandma, Quinn asked, “But what can I do now. It’s late.”

Helen smiled.

“The day isn’t over yet. Come with me.”

Getting up, Helen took Quinn’s hand and the two went down the hallway to the playroom.

Downstairs, Daria had finished cleaning the car and was once again sitting with Jake and reading the paper. When she got started doing this she always lost track of time. Eventually she looked up and saw the clock. It was getting late, She and Quinn needed to get going. The drive back would take three hours and tomorrow was a school day. Daria got up and went into the living room. When she got there she saw Helen and Quinn sitting on the couch watching television.

Daria spoke up.


Helen turned to look at her.


“I hate to interrupt but it’s getting pretty late and we need to start back.”


Daria looked at Quinn.

“Quinn get your things. We need to get going.”

Quinn got up and went upstairs.

Daria watched her.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

Quinn yelled down the stairs. “I left something up here.”

“Okay. Just don’t take too long.”

Helen got up and the pair went into the kitchen. Jake was sitting in the chair sound asleep. Daria put her hand on his shoulder.


Jake woke up. Yawning, he looked at Daria.


“We have to leave.”

Stretching, Jake said, “Okay.” and started to get up.

All three walked to the door. When they got there, Quinn was waiting for them. Daria looked at her.

“Did you get everything?”

Quinn nodded.


“Okay. Well we better get going then.”

Helen leaned over to hug Quinn. “It was great you could come today. Thank you.”"

While Quinn was hugging Jake goodbye Helen and Daria walked out to the car. When they got to the vehicle, Daria reached out and hugged Helen. As they were in the embrace Daria whispered in her ear. “I love you.” Helen didn’t react. After all these years she knew her daughter very well and realized this was as far as it should go. Soon Quinn was next to them.

“Well are we going to go?”

Daria looked at her.

“Yes. Get in and buckle up.” She looked at Helen, and said, “When we get back I’ll call to let you know we made it okay.”

After the events of earlier today, Helen would be happy to hear that call. “Thanks dear.” she said. “I’d appreciate that. It’s getting dark so please drive carefully.”

“I will. Bye.”

Daria got in the car and fastened her belt. As she drove off she and Quinn waved goodbye.

After they got out of Lawndale and were on the highway Daria asked Quinn. “So did you and Grandma have a good visit?”

There was no reply.


After a second she turned to get a quick look at Quinn. She was sound asleep. Apparently it had been a busier day for her niece than she had thought.

“May as well make the most of this.” Daria thought.

Pressing a few keys, she brought her favorite selections up on the radio. Carefully she adjusted the volume so it wouldn’t be too loud and not wake Quinn. For the rest of the trip home she listened to the radio.

When they got back to the house, Daria woke Quinn and they went inside. As they got ready for bed Daria heard Quinn making a lot of noise. Getting up, she went to Quinn’s room. When she got to the door she saw Quinn digging through all the things she had brought in.

“Quinn? Is everything okay?”

“I can’t find something.” Quinn said.

“What?” Daria asked.

“Something special.”

“What is it?”

“An envelope.”

Trying to be helpful, Daria asked, “Do you think you left it at the Grand’s?”

Quinn shook her head.

“No. That’s why I went upstairs. I wanted to get it.”

Daria made another suggestion. “Well perhaps it’s in the car.”

“That’s it. I remember putting it in the map pocket of the door. I’ll be right back.”

Daria stopped her. She didn’t want her going outside in her bedclothes. “I’ll go get it. You get to bed.” she said.

“Okay. When you get it you can open it.” Quinn said. “It’s for you.”


Quinn smiled and nodded. “Yes.”

Daria went out to the car and looked in the door. Sure enough, there was a small envelope. Getting it, she went back inside. After closing the door, she turned on a lamp and opened the envelope. She removed a folded piece of paper. On the outside was a drawing of a woman wearing glasses standing next to a little girl. Opening the card, she read what Quinn had written.

Happy Mother’s


 Aunt's Day

I Love you A.D.


Carefully, Daria put the card back in the envelope and turned off the lamp. Walking to Quinn’s room she opened the door and looked inside. Quinn had turned off the light and was sleeping. Daria walked over to the bed, leaned over and kissed her niece on the forehead.

As A.D. closed the door, Quinn smiled.

The End

As always, Daria belongs to MTV. This was written for my amusement only.