When my mother prepared to sit down at Knight’s Steakhouse in downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan, a few Friday afternoons ago, she screamed.

She arrived with my brother Quinn, who had booked a lunch reservation a few days in advance. She was not anticipating a third guest to be waiting for them: me.

In the weeks prior to what was designated “Mom’s weekend” for his fraternity at the University of Michigan, Quinn and I made an elaborate plan for a surprise visit. With some logistical guidance from our father, I flew to Detroit late Friday morning, dropped my luggage in Quinn’s room, then headed straight to Knight’s, all unbeknownst to Mom until I greeted her with a hug in front of our booth.

Mom has always taken more joy in doing nice things for other people than she has in having nice things done for her. I have been one of four primary beneficiaries. The other three are Quinn and Will and Janie, our other two siblings.

On “Mom’s weekend,” we got to return the favor for once.

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