A few weeks ago, I stopped by the Dollar Tree to look for a specific color balloon for my granddaughter’s birthday party. As I studied the available items, a nearby conversation caught my attention. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but the store was quiet and there was no way not to hear what was being said.
To the right of me, a few feet away, in front of the card section, were two women—one was in a scooter/wheelchair and, through conversation, I learned the other one was her daughter, who was helping pick out cards for what appeared to be upcoming birthdays for the grandchildren. Eventually, I moved one aisle over but could still hear them.
As the daughter would hand a card to her mom, there would be a brief conversation about it. One exchange went like this:
“What about this one for Joey?” the daughter asked.
Without hesitation, the mom said, “No, it seems too grown up for him.”
“But Joey isn’t a child anymore, Mom; he is grown up. I think it’s perfect.”
After a bit of silence, her mom said, “Oh, alright, honey. Whatever you think. Now—how many do we need in all?”
“Let’s see, you have four boys and five girls. What about this one for Michelle?”
A long pause, then, “No, I don’t like that one. Let’s keep looking.”
On and on the conversation went, right up to the time that I was ready to check out and leave the store. As I rounded the corner, I looked their way and couldn’t resist a photo of this pair of remarkable women. I thought about the great effort that was being put forth to find the perfect card for the grandchildren, the time it took to simply get dressed and get out of the house, the daughter carrying the bulk of the load, getting her mother in and out of the car, hoisting the chair in and out of the trunk, multiple times a day, no doubt.
As I waited in the slow check-out line, it wasn’t long before they appeared, hands filled with cards and envelopes, the task completed.
I paid for my purchase and walked out to my car, where I sat for a long while, just thinking. I thought about the grandchildren—the four boys and five girls. I wondered if they would have any idea just what all was involved in the purchasing of a simple birthday card. Would they be appreciative, or would the card be opened quickly, and closed just the same way? I wondered if they would even say “thank you,” and really mean it.
And I wondered if the mother realized how blessed she was to have a daughter who made time to help her through her day, who cared about her well-being.
Heaven knows I’ve not been a perfect daughter, nor have my parents been perfect parents. There are stories I could tell of my shortcomings and of theirs, but the commandment that says, “Honor your father and your mother,” is one I’ve never questioned, but have always tried to obey. My parents have no doubts that, should bad come to worse, they can depend on me to help them through whatever comes, until the very end. It's how it should be.
As I backed up and started to drive away, the pair of women were making their way out of the store and to their vehicle. With gentle hands, the daughter helped her mother into the car, then lifted the chair, placed it inside the trunk, and walked to the driver’s side, her gait slow, her shoulders more stooped than I remembered. In that moment, I thought to myself, Now, that’s what honor looks like. It was a moment that left me quite moved, one I knew I wouldn’t soon forget.