Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SHOP (01/03/19)
TITLE: It's The Little Things
By Corinne Smelker
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
No time for savouring the little things.
Rush, rush, rush.
“Come on Margaret, just grab that mustard. Who cares? What’s the difference between that piece of rump steak and this one? Come on, hurry up.”
As a child I noticed my parents went everywhere together. Much later I realized it was not because they loved each other and could not bear to be apart, but because my father had an insane desire to control every aspect of my mother’s life, and by extension that of my brother and I.
In February 2017, after 50 years of marriage, he passed away. There were 12 people at his funeral. His widow, his son, his niece and her husband, a distant aunt and uncle, a couple of people from the health organization who helped care for him at the end, and me. All of us came out of a sense of duty, not love, or even respect. No one wept and he was cremated without a sense of loss.
After the funeral I stayed with my mother for a few days before flying back to the States. In September 2018 I crossed the pond to stay with her again and see how she was doing. I hired a car and we drove everywhere she wanted to go – giving her more freedom than even the bus could provide.
“We need a few bits and bobs for dinner,” she announced one morning. So I loaded her walker up into the hire car, and we drove to the local Asda for the items. Once at the shop we split up for a while as I grabbed some things and then I walked around the shop looking for her. My attention was seized by an older, white-haired woman, stooped low over her walker, slowly picking over the tomatoes, checking each one before carefully placing in the bag; and then moving on to the fruit, carefully examining each apple and orange.
In an “oh my gosh’ moment I realized that was my mother – old now, needing care now, slowly moving her way along the produce aisle and selecting her particular items. Once I got past the “she looks old” I smiled faintly. She looked up at that instant and caught the look on my face.
“What?” she asked.
“Nothing,” I replied. “I like the grapes you picked – they are my favourite.”
But honestly? I was smiling because for the first time in 50 years my mother was able to shop in peace, and leisurely.
My father stole 50 years of her life, but in the last two years I have seen the woman he must have fallen in love with, the one with a wicked sense of humour and one who laughs loudly, like me. I used to joke that I must have been adopted because I was nothing like either parent. Turns out, my mother and I are more alike than different, but it took 50 years for me to discover that.
Walking around the shop with my mom, as she slowly wended her way through the aisles I was thankful that she could spend as much time as she wanted – never to be rushed again. It was one of many small freedoms she has experienced since February 2017.
Romans 6:14 (MSG) After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.
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