Sometimes I see little old ladies with grey hair wearing the same kinds of clothes Mom used to wear and I get transported to random moments of being with her. I see her slightly-stooped posture. I smell her favorite perfume (Cotillion by Avon), and I feel her hand reaching for mine – for steadiness or for affection, it doesn’t matter which.
I never was one to want to wear my mother’s clothes, at least not the polyester pants with the elastic waistbands. There were one or two of her blouses that I might try to commandeer, but it never felt right for me to utilize her wardrobe. It was the stuff of mom-ness, and I was just a child. For so many years, I have been just her child. Now that I have been catapulted into the realm of raising grandchildren that I inherited through my husband, I have skipped typical motherhood altogether and have to navigate the combined realm of parenting and grandparenting the same children all at once. I am often at a loss for how to proceed through this new maze I’ve wandered into, but slipping on a pair of Mom’s socks or one of her hand-painted t-shirts or sweatshirts can somehow make me feel like I know where I am going. She would probably laugh at that, because she did not believe that things held any power. Maybe the only power in it is God using those textures to jog the memories of times when I saw Mom model the loving ways of caring for others.
I wish opening a bottle of Mom’s old perfume or brushing up against some fine polyester would bring her voice back with answers to any one of my current problems. For now, just know that if you see me asking a little old lady for a hug or inhaling deeply when one walks by, I am not stalking. I am remembering.