I just got in from telling stories. I write stories as I remember them from my youth and childhood. And tonight, I had been invited back to the church of my childhood to tell a couple of those stories I’ve written about my past as they were about that very town to which I had been invited.
Both stories involved my mother, and since today was mothers’ day I thought that was also appropriate.
And they were stories that talked about the humor to be found in life, and about the human condition. And they were well received.
I had had misgivings going in, but that’s normal for someone with ADHD. I wondered why I’d left it so late to compose what I wanted to say. I wondered if what I had to say was really all that interesting. I wondered why anyone would want to listen to my words. Turns out, I needn’t have worried.
But that’s another story
This story that I want to tell you was brought back to me when I entered the church and suddenly saw a vision of myself at twelve years old.
It doesn’t start in the church, it starts in my home when I was a child. My mother is hurrying me to get ready for church. I can’t find my good shirt, or my good pants, or my good shoes, and we are arguing.
I’m not making this up
This is not a tale, not a story that I have embellished over time. In fact, if anything, it has lost some of its clarity. I’m struggling to find appropriate attire to wear and my mother is angry with me, upset. I am old enough, she assures me, to be able to look after my own things.
I can see the sense to that, honest to god I can (no church going pun intended there). But I do not know where those things are.
With five minutes left until church starts, my mother, in utter frustration, tells me not to bother, that she has had enough, that she is going on to church without me.
I’ve been told!
She leaves, assuming that I didn’t want to be bothered with church. Nothing could have been more true, I hated sitting in church, being quiet, sitting still, listening to the droning of the minister. And yet, nothing could have been less true at the same time. I was not unable to find my things because it was part of some elaborate scheme to miss church.
I just couldn’t find them!
After she left, I rummaged desperately through everything I had, found a pair of pants that were too tight and too short, a pair of shoes from the year before that pinched my feet badly, and surprisingly enough, I located my good white shirt. I limped up the road following the same path her car had taken and arrived several minutes late for church, but determined.
I waited outside the sanctuary door for a break, and as the prelude to a choir song was being played, I slipped in, down the aisle, and into the pew beside my mother. She looked at me, took in the ill fitting clothes, the determined look on my face, and then looked back toward the choir. A verse was sung, a chorus, and then well into the next verse, her hand reached out. She dusted off some imaginary dirt from the knee of my leg, and then took my hand a gave it a squeeze.
As the choir finished their song, and the minister started in on the sermon and I started to question why I had made the effort to get here, my mother leaned down to me and whispered, “We’ll find your pants and shoes when we get home.
That was then …
That which I’ve just shared with you was a true story, but even truer is that, tonight, as that vignette popped up before my minds eye, I suddenly realized that that was quite possibly the point in time when my mother discovered that I was like her. And that’s when she decided that we would learn and grow together.
Happy mothers’ day everyone.