Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Tool Box

I have lots of things I could say about my mom, but today, I thought I'd share a story that says more than a card or a list. It happened almost 20 years ago, and it's a perfect illustration of the sort of person my mom is.

Twenty years ago this year, my husband and I got married. His family were, and are, big churchgoers. My future mother-in-law's peers (the church ladies, I would have called them) decided to throw me a very traditional shower. Kindly, they wanted to include my mom.

Most people would describe my mom as a quiet person; meeting new people is not her favorite thing to do. Despite this, she agreed to go to the shower anyway. She did two things in this group of strangers that I will never forget.

My mom attended lots of showers for me. She and my dad gave us so much; she didn't need to give me anything. She brought a gift for me anyway, and I know she selected this one with the setting in mind. Before I opened it, in front of all these unknown, dressed-up women, my mom announced that this gift was conditional. It was only for me, not for my husband.

It was a fully stocked toolbox. A hammer of my own.

The ladies also passed out index cards, and each one of them gave me a bit of advice to read aloud. My mom hates this sort of thing, but she participated. I'm sure the other women had lovely things to say, but the only advice I remember is hers.

"There's more than one way to do things."

When I read it out loud, she explained.

She asked me if I remembered folding towels.

I did, of course. She taught me how, and wanted it done a very specific way, tri-folded the long way, then folded into thirds, put on the shelf with the fold facing out.

She told me that we folded the towels that way because her mom told her it was the right way. Then she asked me if all of our towels fit on the shelves when folded that way.

No, I said.

She said, one day, it finally hit me. My mom probably had us fold the towels this way because all of her towels would then fit into her linen closet. She said, you've learned a way to do things. Your husband's learned another way. Together, you need to find a way that works for you. There's more than one way to do things.

Thanks Mom, for your bravery, boldness, sacrifices, humor, and insight.

Thank your mom today.


  1. I love it! What a nice insight to my lovely neighbor...I feel like I am still getting to know her! :)

  2. What a sweet memory of your mother. You have tapped into my memory bank with your story about your mother and the church ladies and yes, there is more than one way to do things. I hope you have had and will continue to have a wonderful Mother's Day. (I loved your April 3 post about your child telling you he would paint the walls.)

  3. @Missy, thanks. She's pretty funny, in her quiet way. @Barb, it's been a very nice Mother's Day, thank you!