Thursday, December 07, 2006

Colin's mom

The way to love anything is to realize that it might be lost. GKC

I took a book out from the library the other day.

When I got home and opened it, I found a folded piece of paper sticking between two pages, like a bookmark.

On the front of the paper was:

To: Mom
From: Colin

Curious (okay, nosey), I opened it. Inside was the word “Mom” written in a childish scrawl, and in another hand, "Thank you for taking me to the splashpad."

Maybe Colin's mom had been reading the book that day and stuck the note in the book, promptly forgetting it. Maybe she put it in the book for safekeeping, then without thinking returned it to the library.

I have many such pieces of my daughters' childhood tucked away. Notes, drawings, puzzle-piece jewelry, painted bottles, and so on. I have many of them stored in boxes. I periodically rediscover others as I search in drawers for the mates of socks, or when rummaging though my old receipts and bills and papers.

Whenever I find such forgotten treasures, I smile. I try to guess when they were created. I think of the love that went into writing or making them.

That's the value of such things. They are little patches of love. Together with the hugs and smiles, and, yes, tears, they are part of the quilt of love stitched together by our family over the years.

And now that the girls are gone to their own homes or college, that loving memory quilt keeps me warm.

Perhaps Colin's mom also has a collection of such things.

I plan to stick the note back in the book. I like to imagine that maybe Colin's mom will take out the book again and rediscover it, feeling the same flash of remembered happiness I experience when I find one of the girls' forgotten little gifts (even if I never do find that missing sock).

And even if Colin's mom never sees it again, perhaps some other book borrower will, and will be similarly inspired to remember all the gifts of love he or she has received.


Don Kenner said...

I found a copy of one of George Weigel's books (THE TRUTH OF CATHOLICISM) in a used bookstore. A good find. But written inside was an inscription from a mother to her college-age son to never lose his Catholic faith. She sent the book to bolster her son's faith in an atmosphere hostile to the Church's truth.

Sadly, it appears the son sold the book promptly to the used bookstore. I often think of that long-suffering mom.

Nick Milne said...

That is a sad thing, but such pathos is itself a precious commodity. It is a tragedy that others must suffer for us to reap its spiritual benefits (for the experience of pathos is such), but the time always comes, thank God, when we can, in our own strivings, pay the world back in kind.