“Don’t forget to pack your playing cards,” Dave advised me last night as we ate the late dinner he had waiting for me when I returned from working out.  The reminder was indicative of why I love my husband.  I love him because he knows what and who I love beyond him.  And I had completely forgotten about the playing cards.

This weekend, my Mom and I are taking are annual spa trip.   It is never a long journey – two nights maximum — but we always return feeling like we have been gone for at least a week.  This year we have chosen an old favorite – Nemacolin Woodlands  Spa – which is out near Pittsburgh, a bit of a haul but worth every mile.  We have embarked upon shorter trips – to Hershey for the chocolate massage and to Bedford Springs to “take in the waters” – but none have really lived up to the beauty of the grand chateau and the professional service you receive when you are at Nemacolin.

Despite the opulence of the resort, my favorite part of the trip lies elsewhere – in simply spending quality time with Mom doing things we never have the opportunity to do at home despite the fact that she lives 15 minutes away.  We will sing in the car on 5 hour drive each way, we’ll catch up on short term goals and long term dreams, and we will play several mean games of cards in which we will fight to the death, accuse each other of cheating, and mercilessly taunt each other to the bitter end.

I really love my Mom.

She taught me to play Pounce when I was perhaps 9 or 10 years old.  For the vast majority of you who have never played, it’s like competitive solitaire where each player has her own deck.  Players build on cards, like solitaire, on their own while competing to creating stacks of suits out in the middle.  You have to be fast – and lucky – to win.  We keep a running score and can usually get through 10 games before collapsing.  As a child, Mom never let me win so I now relish every time I take a game – which is still only about 50 percent of the time.  The best way I can describe it is guaranteed, simple fun – and, thanks to Dave, it will certainly be had this weekend.

Watch out, Ma – you are going down!  But I promise to pick you up when it’s time for your facial

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