Years ago, on a summer morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my mother. She loved doughnuts and I had brought along a box of Tim Horton’s pastries for the visit. I also had brought cups of black coffee that were aromatic and steaming hot. I felt so grateful for this fine morning and the company of my sweet mother. Afterall, I was sitting in the company of my mother who was also my best friend.
Mom and I sat together. We didn’t talk much. We spent quite a bit of our time just looking out the large front kitchen window. She didn’t get outside as much now, but she loved the nature views out her windows.
“What kind of doughnut do you want?” I asked her as I opened the box to display our choices.
She gave me her sweet cute coy smile and said, “Oh, you pick one out for me. I like them all. In fact, I might fancy a taste of each one!”
I was happy. I got up to go over to the cupboards to collect plates, silverware and napkins. I looked over my shoulder and saw her peeking at the doughnuts just like a little girl excited for a special treat. This simple moment, a cup of coffee and a collection of doughnuts to share with my mother. This was a good day. I clattered the plates a bit on purpose so that she would look over at me. No matter what I did, no matter how old I got, her gazes towards me were always admiring. I knew that I was very loved.
“I just hope you don’t want a piece of the long john because that is the one, I picked out for myself” I kidded her. Oh, how we both loved to tease.
“No, I don’t like that type,” she said while looking a dramatically disappointed.
“Liar!” I said and then I cut her a big bite of the long john along with some other samples. We are both smiling because our little joke had amused us.
As we began to eat our treat, we looked out her window.
“Mom, look…look now.” I urged.
Right there in the middle of the driveway was a bunny. The morning light was misty, the grass beside the drive was full of dew and a bunny had arrived for our entertainment. The bunny who was obliviously content to sit on the cement driveway of all places!
“Mom, do you see that bunny?”
“Yes,” she replied. “It comes here quite often about this time of day.”
We both sipped our coffees and continued to watch the bunny who now appeared to be frozen in place at one spot in the very center of the driveway. Then, just like that, it hopped away. Gone.
“Mom, look! It left little wet pawprints on the driveway. He must have been on the wet grass before hopping here.” I was so taken by the visual image of those little dew prints that the bunny had left behind.
And then in just seconds, I said: “Mom, the pawprints are disappearing!” I felt disappointment for the end of that fleeting scene.
“The doughnuts are disappearing too.” she coyly stated and smiled at our plates.
“No Mom, not the doughnuts, the pawprints. They are almost gone they are disappearing so quickly!” I wanted to express how things can disappear, how special moments shared can end too quickly.
The sun was getting brighter and filtering light across the grass and the drive. The sun was erasing the little bunny pawprints. It had also started to dry the dew drops on the grass.
“The sun erased the prints.” My mother said gently. She reached out to touch my arm and continued talking, “Prints don’t last long, the sun erases them.”
I continued sipping my coffee as her words played in my mind. My mother was a wise woman. “The prints don’t last long; they are erased by the sun.”
She is right. Prints don’t last long.
Even the prints in our lives that are our sad mishaps don’t last long. In fact, in the scheme of life, all the prints or moments are fleeting.
I got up and squinted out the window looking again at the concrete which was now dry and full of dappled sun patterns. The day was turning out to be fine. The birds were starting a morning concert. Our coffee was gone.
“I love you.” I said as I hugged her before leaving. “Want to have a picnic soon, we could ask everyone over?” I asked her, but I already knew that she would be thrilled.
I got into my Jeep to leave, and as I drove past her front door, I could see her standing there and waving at me. She always tried to make each moment together last.
On my drive home, I thought about how the sun had illuminated the day. I thought about how delicate those little paw prints looked and mostly I thought about how precious my aging mother was to me.
Years have gone by since she passed away. Every day, she is in my heart and mind. Her gentle nature and joy for the little things and her unwavering love for family. She was and will always be my hero.