Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mother's Surprises

With an increasingly busy work load and a schedule that officially feels adult and grown-up, I find myself drifting back in time to distinct moments of childhood that stimulate a comforting and warm mental sensation. I have especially enjoyed remembering the little surprises that Mom wove into the daily routines of my childhood.
As I was driving to work at six-thirty yesterday morning I suddenly stumbled in thought upon the time in my life where crayons (and not red pens) were the defining writing utensil. I vividly remembered my surprise in opening up my second-grade school desk the morning after a parent-teacher conference. Inside my desk I found that Mom had left me a small brown paper bag with a box of sixty-four Crayola crayons. The box of Crayola crayons even had a built-in sharpener. Oh, the joy!

There was also the time when, around the age of seven, I had been desirously eyeing a pair of fluorescent pink shorts sold at the local Jamesway. I remember that I had tried them on in the store, but that we hadn't the money to purchase the shorts. But, Mom, always loving surprises, secretly bought the shorts and hid them under my pillow. I remember my great delight, when after getting off of the school bus, Mom directed me toward my bedroom and suggested that I check under my pillow for a surprise. (The fun thing about Mom's surprises was that she could never keep the secret for very long.) What a joyous occassion when the very object of my desire, the hot pink Jamesway shorts, were found under my pillow! I remember looking under my pillow when I got home from school for a long time after that.

One of my favorite stories involving Mom's surprises highlights a pair of shoes. Around the age of six, I remember having a pair of shoes that were ready for replacement. A typical solution would involve a trip to the shoe store. Not so for Mom. Her methodology involved hiding the new shoes in the mailbox. As we drove to the house after running an errand, Mom suggested, "Let's check the mailbox." Voila! A shoebox with Keds pink sneakers just my size magically appeared out of the mailbox. What fun! As we drove down the driveway, I remember Mom encouraging me, "Put them on! Put them on!" And as I hurriedly tied the laces of the pink shoes I remember Mom taking my old dingy shoes and chucking them out the window onto the lawn as a final flair to the mailbox surprise.

There was another time where I remember walking around a craft fair and falling in love with a newborn baby doll that cost twenty dollars. We did not have twenty dollars to spend on a baby doll and as we drove away from the craft fair I had resolved myself to the sad reality that the newborn baby doll and I must part. Since the doll was sold at a craft fair I knew that I had no hope of even asking for the doll as a birthday present. What a surprise when on my birthday I opened my present to find the newborn baby doll! How I cherished that doll with the stubby umbilical cord and calico blue dress.

Speaking of dresses, there was a very special day, right before Easter, when Mom came home from an early Sunday morning gathering with a mysterious bag. I remember that she brought back a bag of M&M's for the little boys to share. Great was my surprise when she pulled from her belongings a pastel colored dress with a white smock and a 3D pink rose that fit me just perfectly. What a very happy treat.

Certainly material possessions do not constitute life, but remembering the love and thought shown through surprise gifts sure does count for a lot. I am so grateful for these memories. Thanks Mom!