Monday, March 14, 2016

What Honor Looks Like ~ Monday Musings


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.


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18 comments:

  1. I've been a little teary all morning, preparing for a funeral, remembering others who have gone home ahead of me. Then I read this beautiful entry. Thank you.

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  2. This really touched me. Perhaps it is because I have two cards waiting to be given to two great-granddaughters from my grandmother who has been gone for nearly six years. They were found recently in a stash of stationery. I didn't know if I should pass them on after all this time. After reading this, I know that I will. Beautifully written, Dayle.

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  3. Good morning! This made me remember that last Christmas I had with my mom. I was soo frustrated at the time because I went through such a similar thing with her. She was going to give all of her grand children and great grandchildren that were under eighteen 10 dollars for Christmas. There were like 15 or sixteen of them I can't remember. A lot...We were in Target on one of those motor scooters [both of us] as she picked out cards for them all...We were in that store for over an hour. Then I had to take her to the bank where she got 2 dollar bills to give each one of them to make it 10. She counted and re-counted and RE counted that money. This took another hour or so by the time we got in and out of the car and stood in the line and got back home. Then she had to sign all the cards herself [writing was a thing she really struggled with since her first stroke] and place each pile of 2 dollar bills to make ten lovingly in each one... so this took another couple of hours. Then I helped her get them into bags marked with the appropriate brother or sister of mine who would help get them all to their proper place. Oh how she labored on all of this!! MOST of that day! My attitude was one of frustration at the time it was all taking but I did try to hide it from mom. Don't know if I succeeded or not. When the bags were finally tucked into her purse and she was all done she wanted to sit on the couch and sip tea and look at the Christmas tree and dwell on this finished task. Again, reluctantly I did. Looking back now I could weep at my attitude...my feelings of wasted time....of how I just wanted to be about "MY OWN" to do list. I also have wondered did ANY of those grandkids appreciate what she did for them that day? I would guess not...never even occurred to them. And yet I know that I will forever cherish that memory of mom on her last Christmas here on this earth giving all she could to those little ones. Trust me they will all hear about it from me when I get the chance to tell them and they are old enough to understand that their grand mother and great grand mother LOVED them. Thanks for bringing this memory to my mind this morning. Have a good week!

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    1. Oh, Debbie, your recollection brought tears to my eyes as I could see and feel everything you described, even your regret, but you were right there with your mom, helping her do the things she could no longer do for herself, and that says it all.

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  4. What a precious story you shared here, Dayle. My mom couldn't afford to buy gifts for as many grandchildren (and also her own 8 children!) that she had but she never forgot a birthday and always sent a card. She never learned to drive so after Dad passed, she had to rely on one of my siblings who lived close by to take her shopping. I could definitely see her in the post you described...mulling over the cards and picking out just the right one. It seemed quite evident that she had a very precious daughter to be so patient with her. Thank you for sharing this sweet moment in time that you were able to witness.

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  5. Must have been a beautiful moment for you. I admire those women.
    Brenda

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  6. Aww...this was a sweet story. It really hit home as I was the daughter here who helped my little mother get around for years before she went to heaven a few years ago. I love that their exchange was so sweet. Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  7. Honor, yes, but I also see gratitude here. I'm betting that the daughter is full of gratitude for a mother who might have had unlimited patience for her in times past. The circle goes 'round - lovely to see.

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  8. I hope that someday I have the patience that daughter has when my mom needs my help like that. Lovely post, brought a tear to my eye.

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  9. Very precious writing and I loved your observation of them. That is what I would do too, listen and imagine.

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  10. This is timely for me because I've just started this long journey with both my parents and it's so overwhelming. Patience, kindness, love . . all of the things I've been practicing are now being tested. Your story and keen observations are a needed reminder to serve those who have served me.

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  11. It was a beautiful example of love and caring...and patience. We all hope we could be that good when the time comes to help someone else, or to be helped. Sweet hugs, Diane

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  12. What a touching story, dear twin, and it brought tears to my eyes for so many reasons. I love you, and thanks for reminding me what honor really looks like.

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  13. Thank you, Dale, for this story. So glad you had the insight to pause and reflect because the ripples of what you observed touch me and I'm sure many. Praying the Lord slows me down not to miss these moments and just think of me and my agenda.

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  14. this is so beautiful Dayle, a perfect story of honor. When I see someone like that showing honor and kindness and gentleness - it touches me too because too often, people are in too much of a hurry. Thanks for sharing this. It'll stay with me.

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  15. Oh, my! I cried when I read this! I miss my dear, precious mother SO much. I could relate to this whole scenario more than I can even put into words. Jesus called Mom home almost four years ago, and He called my dear Daddy home almost 16 years ago. The void and pain of missing them is near unbearable, at times. I wonder, too, if these grandchildren will ever comprehend what went into the choosing and obtaining of these cards. So often, they don't even read the cards...they just open them, look for money, and carelessly and thoughtlessly throw the cards to the side. It is so hurtful to watch by those of us who truly know what went into getting the card. God bless this dear woman and her daughter...we will never know their name or their full story, but this glimpse into their life spoke volumes to us all. Thank you for sharing this story...it touched me deeply.

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  16. I love when you share stories that touch your heart and in turn the hearts of your readers.

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  17. I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog and read this beautiful post. Your writing captivated me and the heart that you wrote with is beautiful as well.
    Have a wonderful day.

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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle