the luxury of remembering

Years ago, three of us found ourselves at Mid Rivers Mall: my mom, Maggie, and me. As is often the case, my mom and Maggie had been doing most of the shopping and I had been doing most of the carrying. The two of them, who share in common a completely different set of characteristics than I share with either one of them individually were shopping for shoes.

Once, years before this, a very young Maggie asked my mom, "Nana? How many pairs of shoes do you need?"
And my mom instructed her, "One more than I already have," a life motto which Maggie seems to have taken to heart.

But at the mall on this particular day, it so happened that--as I stood there carrying bags so that they could try on shoes--I had a pretzel in one hand and the cup of cheese in the other hand. A situation which I was coming to understand to be entirely impossible to navigate. The pretzel wasn't whole, it was a cup of pretzel nuggets. The cheese was in a plastic one-serving cup which had a lid.

I looked from one thing to the next. From my left hand to my right hand. Had these pretzels and this cheese been 100 miles away from each other it would have been just as impossible to eat them together as it was with them only separated by the length of my arms.

I looked at my mom and some Mother's intuition made her glance at me. I said, "If a genie should appear to me right now..."

In a blink she took in my predicament, and immediately started laughing. The kind of laugh that is a little bit of a hiccup, a little bit air just coming up and out. Bubbles of breathless uncontrollable sounds that are coming up in sort of a rapid-burst staccato. She knew what I was going to say, but no idea yet how I was going to arrange the words to say it.

"If a genie should appear to me right now..." I repeated, because I had also dissolved into a fit of the giggles.

She sat on the nearest bench and held up a hand. Palm out, as if to stop me. To say without words: Do not finish this sentence. I do not have enough air in my body, I do not have enough breath in my lungs for how hard I'm going to laugh at this.

"....and granted me three wishes," I went on.

Just then Maggie came on the scene and looking at us both in a reisgned alarm said, "What??"

Then she broke into a funny smile at the scene in front if her. Me trying in vain to hold up the upper half of my body, mom practically laying down on the bench. This was not the first time we've embarrassed her like this in public. Nor do I suspect it will be the last.

"What is so funny?"

"...I would wish for a third hand," I finished to Mom, "so that I could actually dip THESE PRETZELS in THIS CHEESE."

Mom collapsed on the bench. I had the hot-laugh-sweats. Maggie rolled her eyes and walked away.

Today is nothing. It is not mother daughter day. Is not family day. It is not a holiday. It is nobody's birthday.

But I woke up thinking about this tremendously happy memory. So I thank God for today just the same. For this day.
For my mom.
And for the incredibly luxury of remembering.


  • This made me laugh and remember some good times when I had the hot-laugh-sweats.

    Marilyn Winka
  • Indeed a great memory!!!


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