I was rearranging the stuff on my kitchen counters this evening and in the process of finding a new location for my beautiful pottery-like kitchen canisters I got to thinking about my mother.
My mom was a giver. If I commented on how much I liked her new pen I would find it in my purse when I got home. If I mentioned how I needed a new umbrella, she would have one waiting for me upon my next visit. That cute sweater we spotted at Belk's? She'd buy it and stick it in the mail to surprise me. And it wasn't just me. My mom was always buying little things for her friends at work. Or for her sister. Or for my friends at college - even if she had never met them! One time I mentioned how one of my friends collected things with bumble bees on them. The next thing I know she's got a whole shopping bag of bumble bee stuff for me to take to her! There are many, many wonderful things about my mom - but I think the fact that she was always thinking of someone other than herself was one of the best.
Near the end of her life my mom was very poor. She stopped working completely when her cancer came back and every penny she had saved went to paying her medical bills. But this didn't stop her from finding ways to continue giving her little tokens of love. I remember one Christmas opening a large box to find her set of canisters tucked neatly inside. She must have remembered me telling her how much I liked them months earlier. Having something for me to open at Christmas was so important she gave me the canisters right off her kitchen counter.
When I found out I was pregnant my mom was overjoyed. I joked early on that, knowing my mom, my neat and tidy house would surely be filled to the ceiling with baby clutter by the time the baby was a year old. Even before she new the sex of the baby she started collecting baby stuff for me. Most of it was second-hand or came from Fred's (the local dollar store) but she was so excited about showering the baby with gifts that she couldn't wait. So I have a pink AND a blue pacifier, a pink AND a blue teddy bear, a pink AND a blue bib... you get the picture.
Sadly mom passed away only a month after finding out we were having a boy. And the thing that bothers me, even now, is that my mom was denied to grandmotherly duty she had so looked forward to: showering my little boy with tokens of her love.
So now I find myself picking up where my mom left off. I try to carry on my mom's spirit of giving by treating my friends to lunch or picking up little treats here and there to bring smiles to their faces.
They probably think I'm just being nice - but really it's a way for me to stay connected to my mom, to celebrate her memory and to make sure her spirit of giving lives on.