Oh, chere,” said Moma softly. “Dying isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s just the only thing I won’t live through.”
― J.T. Geissinger, Burn for You
Sundays have always been family day.
When I was living in Iowa, it was the day my sisters came over to just be together. We’d play cards, drink beer, and wait for Sunday dinner.
After moving to Denver, Sundays became family phone call days. That was in the 80’s and long before cell phones. Our calls started after whatever the peak call time was so we could talk longer for less money. Because of that, there was not a lot of long conversations or sharing of memories.
Yesterday was Sunday and it remains my family call day. What a blessing to have cell phones. Thanks to that technology I can call anyone anytime and talk for any length of time.
For me–the saddest part of family call day is the fact there are very few names on my call list. So far I’ve yet to find a cell phone provider with a cell tower in Heaven.
Yesterday my conversation with my sister, Sue, took a very interesting turn. Sue began taking about some of her childhood memories–something she rarely shares.
One of the things she talked about was getting in trouble for eating the creamy filling out of the sandwich cookies. She went into great detail–mentioning how we had the kind with both chocolate and vanilla cookies in the same package. Neither one of us remembered who but one but one of us snatched the crinkly package out of the bread drawer and carried it out to the front porch to share.
We both had a very clear image of that bread drawer–probably because we were in and out of it often. This drawer had multiple purposes–it was the only way any of us could reach the counter which would put us in the position for exploring all the mysterious kitchen cabinets. Not hard to imagine how the repeated bouncing weight of three little sets of feet stressed the construction of those old wooden drawers. No wonder it never worked very well.
After devouring the filling each of us would match up our cookies and carefully place them back into the package. I can only imagine those crooked rows visible through the plastic package which is now covered with little oily fingerprints. We thought we were so smooth and in reality our craftiness was lacking on so many levels.
After sneaking the package back into place it did not take long before a very stern voice commanded us to the kitchen. I’d known for a long time that it was never a good sign when we were summoned by our full names!
It was one of the few occasions when Mom lost her temper. My sister said it was the only memory she had of Mom “patting” her bottom–a memory that surprised her.
I thought of our conversation a lot after we ended our call.
As I thought, I remembered we had the big bag of cookies because Grandma and Grandpa were coming to visit. Those cookies were what Mom planned to have with coffee that afternoon. I also remembered the later conversation I had with my Grandma when she asked if I understood why we were all punished for destroying the cookies. I hung my head and told her no. Honestly, I seriously thought that we had not done such a bad thing–the cookies were just fine in my little kid eyes. Without the creamy centers, they were perfect for dunking in their coffee! She listened to my kid logic but then shared with me a very important lesson. She told me it wasn’t the fact we’d ruined the cookies. What made our deed serious was the fact we’d lied.
Family stories like these have been playing back for both Sue and me for awhile now. Hearing them from Sue has given me a lot of comfort and has been the gentle push I’ve needed to finally open and begin to read Hope Edelman’s book, Motherless Daughters. I’ve attempted this so many times. Just thinking about it is tough.
I’m 65 years old and I’ve side stepped grieving for my Mother for 55 years. Ms. Edelman says you grieve when you feel secure enough to do so. Hearing my sister begin to share her stories was just the signal I needed.
Sometimes God does not work in such mysterious ways.
“Coincidences mean you’re on the right path.”
― Simon Van Booy, Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories