вторник, 17 января 2012 г.

Mirror Messages

By Rita Billbe

I'd always refused to pierce my ears... until I arrived home tired from work one day and noticed something taped to the bathroom mirror. Glistening diamond earrings seized my attention with a message written below in eyebrow pencil by my husband, Mike. "Now you have to get your ears pierced. Am I good, or what?"

A quick painful click in the hairdresser's chair and I made a fashion statement.
Mike's note on the mirror started a joyful new tradition in our family. We communicated through mirror missives. Our son Shawn joined in and soon funny notes, rhymes, and messages adorned our looking glasses, both bathroom and dresser. The game often replaced paper reminders in our household. Shawn left word where he'd be after school. During his teen years he left requests for gas money or field trip permission. He often signed them, "Love, Shawn" or sometimes, "Your son, Shawn."

My Mary Kay saleslady likely scratched her head over frequent orders for lip and eyebrow pencils, but we loved our fun family custom. We thought we'd keep it going forever. We'd be featured in family magazines standing next to mirrors defaced with scrawled prose. We'd tell our future grandchildren about it. The practice would be handed down for generations. Our housekeepers squandered gallons of extra Windex removing the epistles. We didn't care.

When Shawn turned nineteen, senioritis struck and he struggled with grades, anxious to enter the big bright world of jobs, college, and his own living space. We continued our mirror messages and occasionally I'd sneak encouraging cards in his backpack to quell his nervousness about graduation and life on his own.

We'd move at summer's end to begin retirement living in Arkansas. Shawn would remain to start community college and a new job.

Prom night arrived bright and clear. I admired Shawn's tux and his silver vest. "No one else will have one like it, Mom." I hugged him and watched the taillights of the gleaming borrowed Corvette leave the driveway. Our mirror scribe had grown up into a fine young man.

The next morning a drunk driver stole our messenger and stilled the writer's fingers forever.

I grieved for months. A strong faithful person, I struggled for answers. How could I continue without his comedy, his laughter, and his love? No answers came. My husband had a wonderful dream in which Shawn called out to him through an open window and handed him shirts, the same size and type he always wore. When Mike called to him, Shawn turned, smiled and left. I craved such a dream, a whisper, a touch to assure me he was all right.

Eventually, in tiny increments, healing crept into my heart. I gained a measure of peace but still longed for reassurance. I believed in my son's life in a heavenly kingdom, but a mother's heart is never quiet when doubts about her child's welfare are concerned. I looked everywhere and anywhere, praying for a sign from Shawn.

Two years later we opened a fishing resort, furnished the lodge, and our grief journey progressed in our peaceful spot on the White River. We purchased a new dresser for our bedroom and planned to move ours to the guesthouse. I transferred drawer contents, removed dust bunnies, and cleaned the mirror. I looked sideways checking for streaks, and gasped. The words "I love you" appeared in Shawn's handwriting. I wept with relief and gratitude. A new measure of comfort entered my heart.

"All in God's time," a friend of mine often says. The hands of God's timepiece chose that moment to grace my life. He didn't send a lightning bolt, a burning bush, or a magnificent dream, but the perfect mirror message of love from my child.

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