A Conversation

By Linda P • July 7, 2022

I stopped by Daiso the Japanese store not far from our house this afternoon just to browse. As I was there I met a friendly woman around 85 or so. Our encounter somehow reminded me of years ago when the boys were very small. I would sometimes take the boys to walk around and play in the mall. There were various rock carved statues of animals, one I remember being a tortise, put in front of places throughout the mall where mothers could sit back and watch their kids climb. It was something I always liked to do because the boys enjoyed getting out of the house and exploring things without my interruption. I loved hearing them as they always repeated one word from my instructions for them to get ready.

After telling them “ Go get your shoes.” they became ecstatic, excitedly screeching , “Shoes! Shoes!Shoes!!!” Their excitement about putting on their shoes was over the top because since they were barefoot nearly all the time, they knew they would be getting out of the house. I could watch them for hours at the mall, letting them decide just how long to stay and when to walk a little farther to find another statue to climb. They were so contented there and so was I.

But the one time I remember with fondness was when a grandmotherly woman we did not know who had been resting on one of the benches got up, and before walking away kindly took the time and told me she had been watching us and could tell that by my patience, not rushing them, I had let her know I was a good mother.

That kindness is something I remember eventhough it was near 40 years ago.

The woman in Daiso was remembering things probably 70 years ago as we talked. She initiated our conversation by saying, “I am crazy,” so I told her I was a little crazy too. Then I mentioned that Daiso reminded me of the dimestore from my childhood. She agreed it was like a dimestore. She told me that the man next to her who brought her was her son. As he heard her say that and acknowledged me I could sense what seemed like a fear, maybe that she would say something which might embarass him. Then she referred to him as her husband. I knew he was not, and that she was just confused, but he let me know that he was not her husband, but her son.

So, I told her, more for him than for her, that I could tell that she had a good son, because many sons would not even think about bringing their mothers to shop. She then went on to tell me a story from her childhood about her dad, some of which I did not quite hear, but there was no reason to let her know that. All I wanted was to let her to know that what she was telling me had worth, and so did she.

It was then time to pay for our purchases as she told me she was sure she would be seeing me there again unless the good Lord took her. It was uplifting, listening to a friendly woman who may not have had many conversations lately. I can only hope her son believed that he was a good son, because he was.

Taking a mother with dementia to the store can be alot like taking kids to the mall...you never know what will happen, but it is always nice when people notice your efforts. As I look back over our short encounter, I like to believe that the friendly woman with the good son was the same grandmother who took time to show me a way to show others their value. It only seems right.


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