Saturday, May 12, 2012

Coming Full Circle

I arrived in this world two months early, weighing in at 4 pounds, 12 ounces, right before my mother turned forty. The doctors said I wouldn’t survive, but thanks to my mother’s nurturing, I did. And as soon as I was old enough, I began what would become a yearly ritual.

Look at those feet! And I was only nine months old.
One particular Mother’s Day, with money in hand that I’d saved from my allowance, I walked to a nearby nursery. I selected a rose, proudly made the purchase, and toted the flower home, handling it as though it were a fragile piece of glass. Judging by my mother’s response, you would have thought I’d given her an expensive arrangement.

Eventually, the gifts did grow more elaborate, but I still got her a single rose for Mother’s Day.

As the years passed and Mom grew older, she moved into my home. I found myself doing the same things for her she had once done for me.

One night, as I worked in my office, I sensed I should check on her. 

I made my way downstairs, went to her door, and glanced toward the bottom. A sliver of light shone through from the other side. Why is she up so late?

Gently pushing the door open, I stuck my head inside. “Mom? Are you okay?”

Her voice carried to me from the guest bath. “I’m fine.”

“Okay, just checking on you.”

The door creaked as I went to pull it shut. “Please don’t go,” she cried out. “I like it when you check on me.”

I stepped back in the room, closed the door behind me, and plopped down in a rocker. “I’ll wait right here.”

Her walker clunked as she made her way out of the bathroom. When she spied me in the chair, her face lit up. “There you are.”

I helped her back to bed, tucked her in, and kissed her on the cheek. “Night, Mom.”

“Don’t go.” Mom extended frail arms toward me, and I bent over her chest, laying my head against the side of her neck. “I love you,” she said. “I’ve always loved you.”

“I love you, too, Mom.”

Our embrace over, her eyes filled with tears.

“What’s wrong, Mom?”

“I had a dream, right before you got here, and some man. . .” Her voice trailed off as the tears overflowed and spilled down her cheeks.

In that exact same moment, another voice, more like a whisper, came across my mind. Listen to her, Daughter.

Mom attempted to speak again, but just as before, she didn’t finish. I rubbed my hand over her shoulder. “It’s okay, Mom. Just slow down and take your time.”

No sooner had the words left my mouth, than she suddenly spoke with great clarity. “I dreamt it was the end of the world, that God is coming to get us, and we all have to be ready.” More tears fell down her cheeks. “We have to be ready.”

A hush fell over the room.

Her eyes shifted to the ceiling, and I followed her line of vision, halfway expecting to see an angel up there.

I placed my hand over hers. “Well, the good news, if the world really is going to end, is that we’ll end up in the same place. We both believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior, right?”

She nodded. “Right.”

“Then we don’t have to be afraid.”

Mom slid her hand from beneath my fingers, placed both her hands over mine, and squeezed tightly. She talked about the many things that had happened over the years, then eyed the ceiling again. Her brow furrowed. “Hmm. It was just a dream, but it seemed so real.” 

Seconds later, she closed her eyes. “I want to go to sleep now.”

I observed her arthritic hands, still clinging to mine. My gaze shifted, and I looked at the lines etched on her face—how far we had come together. I love you, Mom, I mouthed.

Just when I thought she’d dozed off, her eyelids fluttered. “We have to be ready,” she said.

I stayed with her until she fell asleep. After slipping my hand from hers, I brushed a kiss across her cheek, and turned off the light, remembering how many times she’d done the same for me.

After returning to my office, I wrote about the event in one of my journals, and then put it away for safekeeping.

Mom died this past September, less than two years after her dream. 

I recently came across the journal. My eyes filled with tears as I scanned the pages, reliving what happened that night with my mother.  

A few days later, as I stood at the kitchen sink, my husband came home from work. “I have something for you,” he said.

I turned around to greet him. He held a single pink rose in his hand.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Note: Today's post is part of the CW blog chain. The topic is "Nurture". Please check out my sidebar, further down on the right, to see some great posts by other writers.