I was enjoying a lazy afternoon strolling through the aisles of our local Marshalls department store looking for a set of bowls for our kitchen. Over the years I’ve found lovely dishes at this store and it always feels like I’m embarking on a treasure hunt when it’s time for something new.
Dishes are underrated. When you think about how often we grab a drinking glass, enjoy soup from a bowl, or decorate a table with dinner plates, it just feels like good self-care to have something beautiful on hand to brighten the day. But that’s not what this story is about.
While walking down the aisle filled with gift wrap, journals, and thank-you cards, I heard someone behind me say, “Excuse me.” When I turned around, I discovered two girls – one about fourteen with long, sunset-colored hair and another near twenty with crystal blue eyes rimmed with full lashes. They were staring at me intently.
“If someone bought you this bag as a gift, would you like it,” the youngest girl asks?
I look at the large tote bag covered with fall leaves and think to myself probably not. But, not wanting to offend, I ask about the recipient and the colors she likes. I soon discover that they’re sisters, it’s their Mom’s birthday, and they want to find gifts that will land well.
“Our mom looks a bit like you,” the young girl says shyly, “would you use it?”
Sure, I reply encouraging them to trust themselves. Yes, I’d use it. What else are you thinking about?
As listen to their ideas, it suddenly hits me that I’m not only old enough to be their Mom, I could be their Grandmother. I laugh to myself and get fully onboard with helping them choose something special. After all, I want to be a good Elder :-).
We discuss the benefits of simple comfort gifts like cozy loungewear (something they’ve already picked up), a beautiful mug, or a soft blanket, and the challenge of buying “Mom gifts.” When finished, I wish them luck and head back to my treasure hunt.
But, as I browse through the porcelain bowls, gold-rimmed glasses, and the latest Halloween decorations (already!!), I think about all the Moms I’ve met over the years and make a beeline back to the kids on the other side of the store.
Okay wait, I yell when I find them looking at socks and slippers. I have another idea.
They turn and look at me with rapt attention.
Buy a nice card from the two of you and include a list of the ten things you love most about your Mom. And really give it some thought. No skimping. Chances are she’ll remember that gift for a long time.
“Cool,” says the youngest. “What an awesome idea,” agrees her older sister. “We can do that,” they say in unison as I bid them farewell once again.
I spent the next hour searching for gems without any luck, but that's okay. I found a different kind of treasure - two earnest girls, a fun chance to help, and a sweet story to tell. If you ask me, that about sums up a good day.