Such a treat was in store for me today, and I had no idea.
This afternoon my oldest and I headed out to run an errand. The littles were off with the Fella, so it was just the two of us. We were off seeking treasure–the last five jars of No Nut Butter that Aunt had seen at the Big store. After we finished there (got ’em), we decided to pop in at the GW Boutique across town before heading home.
And it was there that we came upon a second treasure. Quite unexpectedly.
We had scanned shelves and flipped through some of the clothes racks. It’s always fun to ponder what one could wear or how something would look and to search for new crock pot lids. But that’s a story for another time.
As we traveled down an aisle, headed to the check out counter, we crossed paths with a lovely looking older lady. She said something about how much she liked the skirt we’d picked out, and before long we were chatting and visiting like old friends do when they meet up at the library or the grocery store.
She told us a little of her story, widowed twice over because of that horrible cancer. After her second husband died nearly twenty years ago, she started on her bucket list. She will be 82 in the fall and still has two things left on her list. One of which she plans on doing on her birthday. As she told of her adventures, long waterslides, ice skating, skiing, there was a sense of peace and grace about her. Such a beautiful person, inside and out. We shared some of our story too. About Aub’s upcoming sophomore year and post-graduate plans. About how I was looking for a dress to cut off and make a fun top out of. As we talked she looked at me intently and said, “You have the loveliest complexion.”
Oh my. I was surprised. I thanked her.
“Well if I do, I give my great Aunt credit for that, I guess,” I told her. “She told me two things that I’ve carried with me all through my life. First, don’t hold my nose every time I went underwater–it would make my nose pointy. (too late) And second, don’t wear makeup–she told me the sooner I started wearing it, the sooner I’d need it. And so I just didn’t.”
This sweet lady smiled and gave a melodious chuckle. (I told y’all she was lovely–everything about her.) “That reminds me of my son and daughter-in-law when they got married.”
She shared the story with us. This was many years ago, and the day of the wedding, her daughter-in-law’s bridesmaids decided to empty the bride’s suitcase of many things and pack it instead with rice or something like that. Of the things they removed, her makeup was included. The newly married couple traveled to Atlanta to spend the night, ready to fly out early the next morning for their honeymoon. When the bride woke up and started to get ready for her day and the trip, she couldn’t find her makeup. She was distraught, but her new husband looked at her and said, “You are beautiful just like you are. You don’t need makeup to be beautiful. You already are.”
Y’all. Yes, we swooned.
That Mama raised a good boy, didn’t she?
And to this day, our new friend told us, all these many years later, that bride has never worn makeup again. And from the way her mother-in-law described her today, she’s still just as lovely as she was when she was a newlywed.
Love. This. Story.
What an impact this short visit had on us. Miss R (we are on a first name basis now) somehow looked my girl straight in the eyes, though she was a head shorter, and told her to get her education. That if any fella came along, she just needed to tell him to hold on, that she was going to finish her education FIRST, so they could have a better life together after. That no one should talk her out of that.
Then she looked at both of us, then back at Aub. “Enjoy your life,” she said. “Find something you love to do and do it well. Because life’s too…..important.”
Oh how my heart sang in agreement with those beautiful words!
I had been so sure she was going to say life is too short, and while I am definitely in agreement with that, my soul rejoiced. This. This is what I’ve been feeling. Life IS too important. To let the little things get us off track. To let the big things derail us for very long. It’s too important not to just love on every one we meet. Too important to just accept things as they are with a shrug and a “I’m just passing through.” It’s too important. Beautiful, broken, and important.
We left Miss R today, after reassuring her that her children and grandchildren were not wrong when they told her she could get away with outfits like the one she was wearing today. She was adorable and elegant and graceful all rolled into one. At one point I felt like she might be channeling my Mama in some of the things she said. I just wanted to hug her. So I did. Twice. Turns out she knows Aub’s godfather’s parents. I love how small this world is sometimes. And I love that there is a connection with this beautiful soul.
After our reluctant goodbyes and Aub and I were in the go-mobile headed home, we shared our thoughts on our visit. We both were touched by this sweet lady who took time to visit with two strangers in the GW Boutique.
“That story about the makeup. I LOVE that. I think that should be a new tradition. All bridesmaids should take the bride’s makeup,” my girl mused.
I agreed. She then shared that she hadn’t worn much makeup all summer. And she sounded happy about it. Good on you, baby girl. You are beautiful, and you don’t need it at all. And one day you will find a lucky Fella who will think so too.
In the meantime, go and do exactly what Miss R told you to do today. Live, laugh, do what you love, and enjoy life (“but not by doing things you shouldn’t” ahem).
Wishing you all an unexpected treasure or two. Love to all.