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The Mother I Never Knew

It's been 10 years since my mom died, and I just found out that she once wanted to "learn to blow-dry her hair like a pro." Mom's hair always looked great, and she dressed nicely, without compromising comfort. But not once did I see her fuss over herself. So this afternoon, I was surprised to find the blow-dry article when going through the last box of her things.  It was time.

I took a deep breath before opening the box, preparing myself for a few tears as the contents pulled me into the past. Mom was delightfully simple. Her family was her absolute life! So when going through other boxes years ago, it was no surprise to find our old report cards, newspaper clippings of various events, crayon drawings from the grandkids, cards we'd sent,  school programs,  and pictures of dad taken when he was in the Army, lovingly signed "Your Hubby."

But, I never knew the mother inside the box I had just opened. I had never met the woman who kept a folder of worn "bucket list" clippings torn from Family Circle. Thumbing through them, I felt like I was imposing on the stolen hours she had embraced while reading her favorite magazine.

Mom crocheted afghans, doilies, and tiny clothes for her Kewpie dolls, but, as far as I know, she never crocheted the "rainbow rug" on her bucket list to "add a splash of color" to our home. Nor did she "grow and preserve" her own vegetables, "work magic" with frozen bread dough, or "cultivate a bonsai tree with seeds." It saddened me to think she was too busy being a loving and devoted wife and mother to scratch something off of that list.

In later years, when she had more time to pursue her interests, something magical happened; she became a grandma. And Mom immersed herself in the bucket list of her life!  The little ones added a "splash of color" to her home. She "grew and preserved" another generation of love, "worked magic" with homemade play dough, and "cultivated" the energy to be a playmate, spending her days entertaining them with puzzles, games, and silly songs.  She took them to the park,  pool, Dollar Tree, or anywhere else they wanted to go. Mom never ran out of time, energy, or hugs as she created loving memories for the grandkids.  And they spoiled her with sticky kisses and all the happiness a grandma's heart could hold.  There's no doubt that the discipline my siblings and I grew up with flew out the window. And that's okay. Because that's the magic of being a grandma.

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.”  Sam Levenson



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