My mother has passed. What I have are stories, stories stacked on top of each other: stories stacked by my reading chair like a precarious coffee table, stories neatly categorized and displayed in albums, and stories typed and filed away as keepsake letters. Stories carry memories and connect us to each other like charms on a charm bracelet.
When I’m missing my mother, I try to slip into one of her stories, especially those in which I’m a partaker. I visualize, contextualize, and sense her presence by seeing her sweet smile that crinkles her eyes, listening to her voice, and feeling her soft hands. When I do this, I leave behind the worry over how the rest of the day will unfold and am enveloped by her steadfast love all over again.
Go there with me.
I’m sitting in church as a four-or-five-year-old, pixie haircut and all, swinging my legs back and forth, restless and fidgety. Mom gently lays her cool steadying hand on my boney knee and I still reflexively. I snuggle up close to her and loop my small hand under the cool, pillowy softness of the underside of her arm, lean my head against her summer, cotton, brown and white polka dot sleeve, and breathe in her special calming scent. She unclasps her purse, removes her crisp, starched handerkerchief, and deftly crafts it into a baby-in-a-cradle form and quietly hands it to me. I am content.
Why is this memory so fully etched in me? I honestly don’t know. But when I need calming, this remembrance is what even today soothingly hugs me.
We siblings were anchored in our childhood and teenage years by the foundational confidence that our mother’s ears, eyes, and touch were attuned to the other end of our needs, wants, and hearts’ desires. Thank you, mom on this Mother’s Day for our stories full of memorable hugs.
What treasured stories do you pull up?
I’m reminded of the sincerity of your faith, a faith which was alive in Lois your grandmother, and Eunice your mother before you, and which, I am confident, lives in you also.