My mother was never one to express her feelings. She never seemed to want to impose herself on our lives and sometimes that came across as her not being interested. But no one, not even a child, knows what goes on in a mother’s heart and mind. My mother grew old and with her age came changes. Perhaps the walls she had put up around herself in her youth just became too difficult to keep up and this sweet tender side of her started to shine through. We had some wonderful days together as we went on adventures shopping in her favorite dollar stores, playing games, eating sweets and visiting friends and family. I will always be thankful for that time, because it bonded us together in a way that, I had felt, we had never bonded before.
She was in her late 80’s when she started giving gifts for no reason. She liked to look through the variety catalogs that she got in the mail and she would order things that you would never find in any store. One of those things happened to be a replica of a necklace she had since she was a young woman. It was a necklace with a cross and it had a secret image in the center that you could see if you looked through this tiny hole. Inside the hole, and somehow magnified, you could see the Lord’s Prayer (The Our Father). I was fascinated with this necklace as a child, and she had found these replicas in a catalog and ordered them. She gave one to each of her daughters and to each of her daughters-in-law.
Then she found this Papier-mache book with a saying about Mothers & Daughters and gave one to my sister and one to me. Although mom had trouble expressing her feelings verbally, she had always taken the time to make sure that the birthday cards she sent had meaningful sayings. This gift was like the ultimate birthday card, only it wasn’t our birthdays. She was trying to tell us how she felt through the words of others.
My mother was a mystery to me for most of my life. But in her last years she let me see who she really was. I thought she was giving us these gifts because she knew she was old and that her years were waning. But I know now that she knew she was losing her memory before we did and she just wanted to say what she had not managed to say before.
Thank you mom, for this beautiful gift.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy