Jeffrey gave me a Mother's Day basket and so much more....
| Steeped in Memories
By Donna Lowich
“Happy Mother’s Day!” Jeffrey sang out happily as I entered the kitchen that bright May morning in 1987. There he sat in the captain’s chair from the dining room that he had dragged into the kitchen so he could face the doorway and watch for me as I entered the room. He had been waiting for me for a while, his arms wrapped around a package that almost hid him from my view.
“Thank you, Jeffrey! I leaned over and kissed and hugged him, reaching around a huge cellophane-wrapped basket that was balanced precariously on his lap.
“Something for you,” he smiled mysteriously and his chocolate-brown eyes sparkled as he tried to move the large basket without tipping it.
“Wow! That’s a pretty big basket just for me!” I had heard bits and pieces of whispered conversations between Jeffrey and his dad, but I had no idea what they were “brewing” up for me.
Jeffrey had just started at his new school in March, and was finishing first grade. I had been worried about how well he would adjust to his new surroundings since it was so close to the end of the school year. It had been a difficult couple of years for Jeff and my whole family. Not even a year and a half earlier, I had undergone two spinal cord surgeries that paralyzed me from the shoulders down. On his own, at the age of five, he learned the words and melody of the song, “That’s What Friends Are For” to sing to me while I was still in the hospital.
While I was undergoing physical therapy, Jeff was always there to cheer me on and cheer me up. He was always right there with, “Mommy, you can do it if you believe in yourself!” In so many ways, he was instrumental in keeping me focused on my goal of walking again, and what I needed to do to achieve that goal.
After his visit for an introductory one-day visit to his classroom, and right before he started at his new school, I tried to comfort him by saying, “Don’t worry, you’re going to do fine at your new school. You’ll be great.” He was equally, if not more, comforting to me: He patted my hand, saying, “I know. I’ve been there before. Don’t worry, I’ll be OK.”
Apparently, he was right, for Jeffrey had made enough connections to find out that, as a part of a class fundraiser, students in the sixth grade were selling gift baskets for Mother’s Day. Included in the baskets were fresh fruit, small boxes of crackers and cookies, and many different kinds of herbal and flavored teas.
As he helped me to open the basket and examine the contents (the cookies were especially interesting), he was excitedly explaining about the different teas that were included. I had always liked tea, but my knowledge until then had been pretty limited to mint tea. Here, I had my choice of herbal lemon, cranberry apple, even orange spice! It was then I found out that the whispered conversations were arrangements that Walter would give him the money to buy the basket, and then help Jeff hide the basket until Mother’s Day morning.
“Jeff, there are so many choices, which one should I try first?”
“That’s easy,” he answered, as he pulled out a package of apple cinnamon. “Try this.” Apple cinnamon is one of Jeffrey’s favorite flavor combinations.
I hugged Jeff again, saying, “What a wonderful Mother’s Day gift! It’s a total surprise, and you’ve given me so many new teas to try! Thank you so very much!”
He looked at me, hugged me back, saying, ”I’m glad. I just wanted to get you something you’d like.”
We brewed the tea. We both sipped it and decided we liked it. I relaxed with the knowledge that my son was adjusting to school.
So now, whenever I feel the need to be comforted, to feel warm and relaxed, and rid myself of the day’s worries and stresses, I sit down and have a cup of hot herbal tea, accompanied by all of the memories it brings with it. The steam curls lazily over the cup as the tea steeps, and the herbal aroma brings back those days when my son was there to give me encouragement and comfort. I am warmed by the love of my son, the memories he has given to me, and the tea he gave so thoughtfully those many years ago.