I was heading to my writing group yesterday. Standing at the bus stop I decided to run back for a book to read on the journey. (Something I don’t normally do.)
While waiting for the bus, I flicked through the pages and found my place. Because it was an old book I didn’t want to “dog-ear” the pages, so I searched in my pockets for something to use as a bookmark. All I had was a couple of ten pound notes, so I carefully folded one of them and slipped it between the pages.
Sitting on the bus I took the book out and was about to read but and I was distracted a young woman behind me who was speaking on her cell phone.
She was talking to her brother. She wanted to know where he was, why he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, why he had lied to their mother again and did he know that their mum had broken down in tears that morning because of him.
She kept it quiet but she didn’t pull any punches with him. She let him know exactly what she thought of him but I could tell there was love under all the disappointment. She tried so hard to get this boy/young man to come see his mother and make it all right, but I got the impression she was fighting a losing battle.
I never looked around. I just stared at the book in my hand and the ten pound note sticking out of it.
When she left the bus, I got off behind her.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Do me a favour, would you? Take this money and buy your mum a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers. And tell her a strange man said that being a mother is the hardest but most important job in the world.”
I don’t think she knew how to respond to that. As I turned away I heard her softly say, “That’s really nice of you.”
Walking on, I wondered at the coincidences which put that money there. I wondered if in some way I was saying a thank-you to my own mum. But most off all I hoped I had raised a smile on the face of a mother suffering for her child.
But most off all I hoped I had raised a smile on the face of a mother suffering for her child.
And as for the son … one day, I’m sure, he’ll realise what a blessing a mother really is and what a shame it is to break her heart!