All my life, my mom kept a running, hand-written grocery list. Always on the fridge, stuck there in the top corner with a cocker spaniel fridge magnet. It was one of those simple things that moms do that are probably only ever appreciated by their children – if at all – in hindsight, looking back from somewhere down the road of life.
I found one of her lists yesterday. It was just five things that she needed. Written on a blue sticky note. Tucked in a box with some cards she had saved, still taped up from the move. I thought I had let go of most all of the hundreds of cards she’d kept over the years, but somehow an entire box had not only made it home with me, but it had been stored for a year, and then shipped to this house – without me knowing that it even existed.
When we moved to this house just a few weeks ago, I thought of her the last time I closed the door on the old one. I thought about the last time she was in that house. Christmas 2018. And, how it will be strange to live in a place where she will never walk through the door. The truth is though, she’d have hated me moving downtown. She’d have thought it was too dangerous. Our house was so lovely, she’d have said, what could you possibly want living there?
It’s strange what an old grocery list in your mother’s handwriting can stir in you. It reminded me that fear, mostly, is born of a story we tell ourselves. And, I choose to tell myself a different story. It reminded me that she was a woman of incredible strength and tenacity. And, she raised another.
It was just five things she needed. Written on a blue sticky note. In that moment, I missed her beyond measure. And, in that moment, I knew for sure that she has walked through our downtown door.