It's been roughly six years and three weeks since my commander pulled me into his office to tell me my mother died. We had a somewhat contentious relationship for about the last 30 years of her life. Now, as the holidays approach, I stumble upon bits that my mother taught me, like driving over random frost heaves on a highway.
Last week, I went to fancy designer purse outlet store, and bought my sister in law the thing she really wants for Christmas. We've been related for 12 years, and this is the first year I am certain I have a gift she will adore. Today, I remembered that I have to put a penny in it before I wrap it.
That penny used to confuse my children. Well into their teens, they thought I was the ULTIMATE cheapskate for giving a penny in a purse. "Geez, Bets, why bother, put some real money in there!!! You are sooo cheap to give Grandma a penny!" And I could never explain that you can't give an empty wallet or an empty purse, because if you do, the owner will always be poor. In my thinking, who wants THAT? FIND a penny.
And I remember when I learned this. I was eight or nine, and there was a J.C. Penneys outlet store near our home in Elmhurst, and my mother LOVED it, because everything was cheap, yasi, a bargain. She bought me a purse, and made sure to put a penny in it. And it's funny, that one instance made an indelible impression on me.
I'll tag all of you for a mama meme.