All of the mother-daughter pairs were at the craft store today, and then they all followed me over to the Paper Store. These girls and women stuck out to me all day long. They were a variety of ages…children to elderly, and some were sweet and others were annoyed. After all, this is the essence of the relationship and they portrayed it well. It is no overstatement to say that strolling through these stores, followed by lunch, might have been my Mom’s Perfect Day, but she’s been in Heaven now for four years exactly, where every shiny accessory, figurine, and bauble is 50% off and she has a coupon somewhere in her giant handbag for the rest.
Why I decided to do these errands on this day was a bit of a mystery to me and I found myself asking the question as I meandered through the stores. A ten-year old girl dragged along with her mother looked at me, beleaguered, and I recognized that look and smiled in solidarity with her. A fifty-something Mom enjoying every minute with her adult-age daughter was relatively close to where I am now in life, and I found myself missing my girl intensely. The older Mom helping her even older mother through a store while she looked too long at every tiny thing was a picture I remember well.
And I wondered, four years out, what a typical day for my mother looks like now. Can she really accompany us as we run errands and live our messy lives? Does she even want to? Does she really see everything and help us?
I stopped at Chipotle for one single perfect* chicken taco to fuel the rest of my errands and while I waited in line I saw a mother with her baby daughter in her lap. Mom was tearing pieces of soft tortilla and spoon-feeding her baby rice and beans. She was juggling the baby while picking up a dropped organic apple juice box, setting it up with a straw, and helping the baby to drink. It was all so nurturing and lovely that I teared up right in the line but one is absolutely not allowed to cry at Chipotle, especially when your teenage daughter’s friend is working there, so….
Back in the car, I wondered if this might be a picture of what my Mom is up to these days. Maybe in her wholeness, peace, and utter joy, she’s ripping up life experiences and lessons into small-enough bits that we can take them in safely without getting hurt. Maybe she’s filling us with what we need to grow and become who we are meant to be. Maybe she’s cleaning up messes and juggling our mistakes and making sure we get what we need. Ah, maybe.
What I absolutely know is that if she can do these things, she is doing them. Her will and her love for us was strong, stronger than death, I bet. But I do wonder sometimes if it allows for craft store trips or little nudges in the midst of the mundane. It would be nice to think that I wasn’t as alone today as I felt. Maybe the beloved daughters of strong women never truly are.
*If you are going to eat just one taco at Chipotle, please fill it with white rice, chicken, mild AND medium salsa, cheese and lettuce. My daughter will fight you about this combination as she has her own ideas, but trust me. I’m a mother. I know.