My kiddos, Marie and Angel, both have flashbacks to their early childhood abuse. From out of no where, a scent might set Angel off, or a man somewhat resembling a perpetrator might set Marie off, and they are both deep in the world of bad thoughts. I know it can happen, but never gave it much thought until today. When I had a flashback that set me off on a nostalgic ride of good thoughts.

I was pursuing the bargains at JC Penney’s, picking out a cute grey sweater to ward off the cold while waiting for the spring that I know is supposed to arrive any day now. Soon. When the mountains of snow melt… But for now I wear sweaters.

While waiting in line, I admired the clothes on the counter ready to be purchased. They were a blouse and sweater in pastel colors, the colors that are supposed to look best on me according to my “color chart”. (Of course I never find the appropriate color clothes because I only buy clothes deeply discounted; the browns, the blacks and the greys.) On the cashier’s counter lay two different colors of beige pants, a light pastel peach colored sweater with pearl buttons on the neck and three quarter length sleeves, and a light pink, sophisticated shirt, wrinkle-less with a stiff collar. The clothes screamed success and professionalism.

Looking at the woman buying them, I noticed she was about my age, with hair dyed a honey blonde and a middle aged waist holding up a pair of jeans. What struck me most was her relationship with the woman she was with. The two of them were giggling conspiratorially, pointing at the clothes with a look of accomplishment. Almost giddy. The other woman was much older, in her 80’s, with similarly colored hair and body frame. They kissed lightly, among their smiles, and as they walked away with the bagged items, the first woman hugged the other and said, “Thanks!” It struck me that it was a daughter and her mother, and the mother was buying her daughter some clothes for her work. As old as the first woman was, her mom still wanted to care for her and to buy her the perfect clothes, probably for a special occasion, like her birthday. Today.

This scene ignited such an emotional flash back for me that I almost cried out. That could have been me and my mother if she was still alive. For my birthday, she would always take me shopping to buy two wonderful outfits that I would not have been able to afford otherwise. They would be in my perfect colors, and we wouldn’t care if they were on sale or not. Even as she aged and entered a nursing home, I’d still bring her out in her wheelchair to shop. I was her child and she was my mother, caring for me and making me happy. She was especially conscientious to remember my birthday, when her mothering was still acceptable.

My heart is still happy/sad after seeing the women in JC Penney’s, and I sit here typing this with tears in my eyes, trying not to let them fall. Today is especially meaningful for me. Today is my birthday. And I did not get any new clothes….


Comments on: "A Flash Back of the Good Kind" (53)

  1. Happy Birthday!! I am so sorry you didn’t get any new clothes for your birthday. I’m sorry you have lost your mother. I hope your birthday ends up to be very very special inspite of not getting new clothes. I send you many, many wishes of good health, wealth, and much happiness. XOXO ((Hugs!!))

    • Thank you! My husband took me out to my favorite Chinese buffet and my middle son, who is our most challenging, sent me a Facebook birthday wish, thanking me for saving his life when he was a baby and how lucky he is to be in our family now. That gift is PRICELESS! (YOU know what I’m talking about!)

  2. Happy Birthday, and sorry for the emotional setback birthdays are supposed to be happy days!

  3. Reblogged this on BEAUTIFUL WORDS and commented:
    Please wish this wonderful mother a Happy Birthday! ((Hugs!!))

  4. sunshineadventurer said:

    Happy birthday!!!

  5. happy birthday, your memories of your mom are you better than new clothes! I remember shopping with my mom after I and all of my siblings had moved out. Everything I even glanced at, she would want to buy me LOL, just because she was never able to when I was young.

  6. Wish You a very Happy Birthday! Hope you have a happy day to create happy memories πŸ™‚

  7. Happy, happy, happy birthday! πŸ™‚

  8. I hope you have a truly happy birthday! I’m so sorry your mother is gone and you didn’t get any new clothes. I hope you’ll be able to wear the memory of your mother’s love like a pastel peach sweater with pearl buttons!

  9. so touching!! Thanks for sharing such a personal, sweet post! What a sweet memory to have of your Mom!

  10. Happy Birthday. You received something much more important than new clothes: a vivid memory of a special time spent with your mother. Those mean more than gold.

  11. Happy Birthday ! I’m so sorry your mother is no longer here to give you a very special Birthday. It is wonderful that she has given you some really special and loving moments to remember, those you will always have with you. Bless you, and bless your loving family.

  12. Happy Birthday and you will treasure the memory of those two women even more than if you had gone out and bought yourself a fabulous outfit.

  13. Happy birthday. What a lovely heartfelt piece! I hope you went shopping for yourself on your mother’s behalf as I am sure she would want you to do – after all, she told you so through those shoppers. :).

  14. What a beautiful memory to share. And I wish you had some new clothes in just the right colors–they do cheer one up so.

  15. Reblogged this on Living Life Day by Day … and commented:
    If you’ve lost your mom I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to this post. Why? Because it describes the way you feel when you see other daughters with their mothers sharing a tender special moment, the exact time when your heart hurts so much it’s a physical stabbing in your chest, and the love that you miss the most.

    I miss my mom sooooooo much … especially on my birthday – just like the blogger who shared her words with us. Hugs!

  16. Happy happy happy birthday and sorry you didn’t get any clothes. Hopefully this long distance hug from a fellow blogger who misses her mom as well will help. Thanks for reminding me how awesomely special our moms are and why we will always always miss them. Reblogged! πŸ™‚

  17. Happy Birthday! May your day be blessed!

  18. Hsppy Birthday! Thank you for sharing such a touching moment, I’m so sorry it wasn’t you with your mom. Hugs.

  19. Followed you here from Priceless Joy – Happy Birthday to you! May your year be blessed with more special moments, and wonderful memories. So sorry to read of your loss, and pain. You remind us to treasure the moments we do get to spend with our loved ones.

  20. Wish you a very joyous Birthday.
    May you see lots of happiness of your children.

    Best Regards

  21. Happy birthday. What a beautiful post and tribute to your mum.

  22. Beautiful, thank you for sharing

  23. I some how stumbled upon your blog somehow and so glad I did…What a bittersweet story to tell…I still have my mother in my life and this reminds me that I should not take that for granted…Thank you πŸ™‚

  24. Happy happy birthday!
    I still have my mom, though we live far apart and don’t see each other often. But there is nothing like the love of a mom, and from a mom. Wishing you beautiful memories.

  25. A poignant, but lovely, memory. Have you ever read the book, The Glass Castle?
    I read it and yours at about the same time. The difference in the quality of your somewhat chaotic childhood and hers seemed to me to be your mother. She was as amazing in her way, as your father was, and the balance she gave you seems to me to have made a huge difference, one that has been a benefit to your five children. It’s beautiful to glimpse the heritage one person can pass on and the difference it can make.

    As always you inspire your readers to find the good in their lives, both past and present. Thank you.

    • Thank you so much for being such a loyal reader! It means a lot to me.
      You are right…I was definitely blessed with a wonderful mother who never exposed me to anger or prejudiced. Just love and joy!

  26. What a bittersweet memory. I have only one special memory of clothing shopping with my mother, when I was around 16. She grabbed a pair of spring pants that had moderately wide vertical white and pink stripes. They were cut to fit my shape and zipped up the side. At first I thought they were too ” out there” but after I tried them on, we both decided they actually looked great. I wore the heck out of those pants and loved them. Happy Birthday!

    • Aw, that’s so sweet. I actually saved a pair of culottes that my FATHER bought me. I don’t know what possessed him to do saw, he’d never bought me anything else. I treasured that outfit as a sign of his love for me.

  27. Happy belated birthday! Bittersweet memories are always so tough to process for me. There’s the joy of the memory and then the deep sadness that follows when we miss our dear loved ones. I hope you keep remembering all the good memories you and your mom shared together… just as I hope that I’ll be able to do with the memories I share with my lost loved ones ❀

  28. Too late to wish you a happy birthday, but I do wish you blessings galore in this new year of your life. Your mother’s loving care for you lives on in the love you give your children, and they will pass on to theirs.

  29. Happy birthday. For me it is Christmas time when the memories become too strong to cope with. My mother’s birthday was Christmas Day and she died in early January. Because she once said she had never had a birthday as a child because of Christmas I would always make her a birthday cake. Because she liked Christmas cake best, I would use a Christmas cake recipe, making one for her and one for me but decorating hers as a birthday cake. Since the year she died, twenty five years ago, I haven’t been able to make a Christmas cake. It hurts too much to make one.

  30. Ohhh. My. Am so sorry. Happy Birthday. My birthday was this March also. I always wanted a gift from my Dad. But never did. He died. It hurts when I see a lot of people and their Dad having fun. But over the years I’v learnt to accept it. Doesn’t me it still doesn’t hurt. But I know God has a plan. He always does.

    • As I’ve gotten older, I see my dad in a different light…he didn’t really know how to express love. At the time I was hurt when he didn’t come to an awards ceremony or my graduation, but I’ve grown to accept it. It wasn’t because of ME he didn’t come, it was because of HIM.

  31. I am behind on my posts, and so a few days late, but happy birthday!

  32. A precious, heartwarming story. I’m so glad you shared this. This sounds so much like me and my mom. What a great reminder to cherish those we love while we have them with us and carry them in our hearts long after they are gone. Praying for comfort and joy for you. ❀

  33. manyofus1980 said:

    I hope you had a lovely birthday, despite not getting new clothes. I’m sorry your beloved mom is no longer here to celebrate it with you. XX

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