Lynn smiles at Josh’s words that stare at her from the yellowing sheet of paper she fondles, and thinks of those days that time can not erase. Every word raises the curtain on a different scene.
to M O M by Joshua
She imagines Josh in his third grade classroom leaning over his desk like an ancient scribe practicing his skill. And with painstaking effort at correctness, slowly scripting the words to his article for the class newsletter’s Community News column.
I think there is this great person in the community, he writes.
The community…she remembers Sunday afternoons, the shiny red bicycle, and the empty parking lot where they practiced on weekends until he no longer needed training wheels. And she couldn’t have been more proud when the picture he drew for Fire Safety Week was chosen to hang in the French Bakery around the corner from their house.
She has helped me a lot. And she is a school nurse in Rock County, N.Y.
Her former school office flashes before her, and she recalls the many times she brought him to work. He loved to play with the hearing machine and to run around the gym when no classes were scheduled.
When I’ve been sick she takes days off just to help me get better.
Getting better meant midnight rides to the emergency room when asthma attacked him…a cot by his bedside… holding his hand at the words, “just a little pinch…,”and showing him how to use a nebulizer to clear his clogged airways. What a gift, Lynn muses, to have glimpsed gratitude in a mind so young.
When I needed homework help who is at my side aways explaining how I could do it better? If it was not for her I probaley would be behind in the class and learn nothing.
Lynn’s grin substitutes for a pat on her back. So he didn’t mind turning off the television, after all. And he really did learn something about verbs, commas, how to spell always, probably, and to know what’s important.
The reason I picked her is that she has been there though good times and bad.
She knows he meant through.
Lynn tries to recall some of the bad times. But good times get in the way…opening presents on Christmas morning, sleigh riding down the hill behind the High School, watching him make a goalie at Soccer tournaments, and listening to his band’s debut as he and his friends played “I feel Jesus” during Sunday morning service.
She has checked my hearing with machine and taken my temperature with her thermometer. Even thou I haven’t showne it I love her dearly. Thank’s Mom.
Lynn takes one last, loving look past the misspelled words, missing commas, and absent periods to the last line, I love her dearly, before carefully reinserting the frayed sheet of paper back into the folder marked, Josh’s Notes.
But there’s one note she has chosen not to file away. She walks into the living room and stops at the wall where Josh’s Mother’s Day note hangs enclosed in a gold frame.
Once again, memory’s vault opens to Mother’s Day ten years ago when competition for Josh’s time equaled that of a celebrity. When the senior class scheduled their senior trip for Mother’s Day week-end, she recalls the hug and his words –“Sorry, Mom that I won’t be here for Mother’s Day.”
With little chance of flowers, or her tenth set of kitchen towels, Lynn settles for the usual corsage given to all mothers during morning service every Mother’s day. She hopes Josh is having a good time. By late evening, when the phone call she expects from him doesn’t come, Lynn decides against self-pity and opts for a bubble bath. She grabs a towel from the linen closet, but holds it in mid-air when startled by a piece of paper that falls out with To Mom written in bold letters. Inside, there’s a note with words without errors.
Thanks Mom for being not only the Most Wonderful Mother, but also my best friend. Love always, Josh.
Her thoughts wander to the many Mother’s Days that followed when Josh surprised her with all sorts of gifts. But his notes crown them all.
Josh’s notes, she whispers to herself, are my precious jewels. Whenever I read them, I discover the years have neither dimmed their sparkle, nor their ability to stoke memory’s flames that warm my heart.
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