As was the morning routine on a school day, Mom loaded my sister and I in the car at 7:12 AM to drive us down our long lane from our farmhouse to meet the bus. Yet, this day proved to be different than most days.
I had my 4th grade project due and it would need to travel with me on the bus. It fit neatly in a large box and I must say I was proud of my project. This was one elementary kid that was excited to show off his work; yet I was dreading the bus journey with the cumbersome package.
Immediately after getting my model in the box I heard my Mom give her last call to go to the car. Soon she appeared in the kitchen to help me. Even though I appreciated the help I was stunned by her attire. She sported a frumpy housecoat with fuzzy pink slippers and her hair was wrapped around bright pink curlers. Covering this soon-to-be hairdo was one of those clear plastic scarves; it wasn’t raining outside so to this little boy it was pointless to cover up with something you could see through.
Now this was not the first time she had worn this outfit to the bus stop. Normally by the time the bus arrived the car was facing the house and she was unable to be seen by my peers staring through the frosted glass. As together we carried my box to the car I could only imagine how I was going to lug this box with my school books onto the crowed bus.
When we got the bus stop I asked my sister to help me carry my books, thinking this would alleviate Mom of any responsibility. Sister was already burdened with her own school supplies so Mom quickly responded, “Don’t worry, I’ll help you.” My eyes grew as big as saucers, my teeth clinched with a nervous grinding, and my heart begins pounding in my chest so hard I could hear the beating in my head.
Only seconds later with no time to come up with another solution, the screech of the bus’s air breaks behind us brought my greatest nightmare to reality. As if on cue, my mom leaped from the car and ran to my side of the vehicle--- fuzzy slippers and all. She began assisting me with the burdensome project. As we reached the folding door she stepped on the bus. “No,” I thought, “she is not getting on the bus?” It was too late. We were now in the middle of the aisle balancing with box between us. When I sat in the seat, she helped me position the box in my lap and then she did the unthinkable; she leaned in---she was going to kiss me. As she drew closer I said through clenched teeth, “Mom, you have embarrassed me enough.” As she pulled away I saw her eyes well up with tears.
Now embarrassed herself, she made her way down the aisle like she was walking the plank. The bus pulled away and I watched my mom get into the car without looking back. How much I had hurt her begin to sink in. The excitement of my project began to melt away like the wax of a hot candle. I felt warm inside. Not warmth like a warm fuzzy feeling, warmth you feel when you get sick and you want to throw up. The bus rumbled down the bumpy road. A tear burned its way down my check as I recalled the pain I saw in my mom’s eyes.
Needless to say, this day of school was a waste. All I could concentrate on was Mom’s broken heart and how I hurt her. After all, she just wanted to help. Each hour ticked away like the clock was working in slow motion. Finally the day ended and the bus ride home was as difficult as the trip to school had been. Now I had to face her. I had to let her know how sorry I was.
Before you question why Mom would take us to the bus like this you need to understand a little about her. She grew up in a humble household. My grandfather quit school before he learned to read to help support his family. Mom grew up working hard on the family farm. She was not one to put on airs. She did not have much time because she was always that Proverbs 31 woman found in the Bible. With Mom you got what you got. So when Mom got on that bus that morning she was being herself. She did not need to be something she wasn’t in front of my peers. In her mind the goal was to help her son, not impress everyone else.
When I arrived home Mom was at the table working on paying bills. I sat at the table and tried to make some small chitchat, she responded but did not look up from her writing. Then I said it, “Mom, I am so sorry I hurt you today.” She raised her head, put down her pencil and looked me directly in the eye. I continued, “I did not mean to hurt you, but I know I did. I promise you can embarrass me anytime you want . . . uh, you know what I mean.” We both laughed and she held out her arms and we embraced for a long time. She told me that she loved me and she did not mean to embarrass me. I responded with an “I love you” and gave one last big squeeze.
That day I promised to myself to never make my Mom feel small and hurt her feelings again. I must say I believe I kept that promise. From that time forward: I let her kiss me in public, goof off and act silly with my friends and wear that frumpy housecoat to the bus stop without my face turning any shade of red.
Mom went to be with the Lord on her 50th birthday in 1995. Oh, how I miss her. I long some days for her to show me affection in a public setting. I would love to see her walk into church one Sunday wearing those fuzzy pink slippers. I would give anything to be in the middle of a project and have her hovering over to assist me in the process. It would be wonderful if she could just let her hair down and be goofy with a group of my friends as they wondered if she had lost her mind. I would not be embarrassed; I would be proud. I would proudly introduce her: “Everyone this is my Mom, in my book, the greatest women who ever lived.”
If your Mom is still living, do something for her, but tell her, and tell her often---you love her. If you don’t say it now, one day you will wish you did.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
Dec. 1, 1945 – Dec. 1, 1995
“Her children rise up and call her blessed;
. . . Many women do noble things, but you
surpass them all.” ---Proverbs 31:28-29
In : Faron's Footnote
Tags: "mother's day" mom