Attention, Newton County mothers and your adult daughters: When you’re out and about shopping, picking out spring plants for your garden, or maybe enjoying lunch and a little family gossip, do not be alarmed if you notice me lurking about. I have neither sinister nor larcenous intent.
It’s just that when I catch snippets of your conversation, or glimpses of how you communicate without words, sometimes I can’t help myself; I kind of "lean in.’’
I lost my mother to a rare form of cancer almost a quarter-century ago. So like so many others, I’ll be wearing a white rose today. We miss our moms on all those "big" days: the holidays, birthdays, our children’s birthdays and graduations and weddings.
But even now, there are little things that tug at my heart on ordinary days, especially when I see that mother-daughter bond in action, such as:
• When a daughter picks out a particularly expensive handbag, and Mom says, "If I paid that much for a pocketbook, it had better be filled with gold.’’
• When a daughter tries on a bathing suit, and Mom is tugging and pulling and making sure that everything is well-covered and in the right place.
• When a daughter rolls her eyes, but then agrees to let Mom buy her a gravy boat that’s on sale. Mom just cannot imagine her daughter set adrift in this big world without a gravy boat.
My mom was my shopping buddy. A child of the Depression, she squeezed every penny for all it was worth. She prized resourcefulness, not fashion.
I am, in every pore, her daughter.
God in his infinite wisdom made me the mother of sons. I’m not complaining about that. My three boys have grown up to be fine young men of whom I am most proud. Thanks to them, I am fluent in dinosaurs, the Three Stooges, and the various "Alien vs. Predator’’ movies and video games. Dead frogs in dresser drawers, rubber snakes wrapped around my steering wheel and the usual assortment of bumps, bruises and broken arms have only made my heart stronger — it can take a licking and keep on ticking.
But boys just aren’t great shopping buddies. They don’t appreciate the thrill of finding the perfect fabric on sale to recover the dining room chairs or a dress that’s just right for a family wedding.
Not the way my mom, the consummate bargain hunter, would.
I still laugh about the time many years ago when my mother spied an ad in a magazine for a new flatware pattern. It included a little coupon to send in for a free piece.
Well, my mother grabbed up every copy of that magazine she could find and handed out those coupons to her co-workers, her Sunday school class, and her five sisters. Her thinking was that with their help, in a few weeks she’d have a new set of stainless flatware.
Though package after package subsequently arrived, things didn’t exactly turn out as planned.
Instead of receiving four 5-piece place settings, my mother collected 20 identical pieces.
And that summer was remembered thereafter as The Summer of Spoons.
Lord, how I miss my Mama.
Jan Phillips is the editor of The Covington News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.