Way back when, when my oldest was quite a small girl, we often found ourselves over at my dear Joyful friend’s house. She and her girls were our lifeline, our fun, and our safe place to land. They were my girl’s sisters for that time and for life, and I am always thankful for them.
So it isn’t surprising, I guess, that when it came time for us to leave their house, my girl would balk. Balk might be understating it a bit for some occasions. Flat out, she didn’t want to leave. I remember my Joyful friend bringing Aub a Blow pop and telling her if she’d mind her manners and her Mama, she could have that sucker.
Every single time.
Later, when the time came for us to venture out on our own, and we left the nest of Blackberry Flats, Mama liked to ease the transition of leaving each afternoon or evening with a Bob’s soft peppermint or caramel cream. And then, eventually, a Dum Dum sucker. I’m not sure if she changed her offering because she was out of the peppermints at one point or because of our food allergies or what, but the Dum Dums became the most desired treat. We found an old style candy jar to put on Mama’s counter, and that’s what she would let little hands reach in to so as to find a favorite flavor. And on rare occasions, when one had been quite good, he or she could–in the difficulty of deciding between two favorites–have both. “One for now, and one for later,” Mama would say. Now that I think about it, that wasn’t so occasional–it was more the rule.
I fondly remember Daddy pulling out my favorite flavor and handing it to me. In that gesture, he was telling me he loved me. I needed no words. The lot of us had great conversations about the “Mystery” flavored ones and exactly how they came about. The extra special ones, like the Savannah blueberry I think it was, brought about as much excitement as a Santa sighting in July. Too much fun.
I miss those goodbyes. Those sendoffs and waves and “see you soons.” And all the hugs.
Today I dropped by Aunt’s to pick up a book and some special bookstore coupons she’d offered us (yes, because we do NOT have enough books–anyone that says different is off my “birfday list”). She’d called and told me where I could find it as she wouldn’t be home. We swung by in the midst of today’s adventures, and sure enough, the bag she’d tucked the things in was right where she’d said it would be.
I grabbed the bag and started off the porch, and then I was stopped still by what else was in the bag.
Four Dum Dums. For my two littles.
“One for now, and one for later.”
It took me a minute to start the car and get going again. My eyes were flooded and my heart was full.
Tonight I’m thankful for stories that bind us together and for treasured memories. I give thanks for traditions that get passed along and continue to warm hearts and bring immediate smiles to all of our faces. I’m a sucker for tradition, and I’m an even bigger one for things that show us how loved we are. I’m most thankful for my sisterfriend who knew that a spoonful of sugar is sometimes the “best encouragement,” for my Mama whose head I can still see bent conspiratorially over the candy jar with her grands, and for my Aunt. Who never fails to remember and reminds me of that in so many precious ways. The ones we love live on because of moments like this today.
Wishing you all a sweet to remind you that you are so very loved.
Love to all.