There’s a new Sprouts Farmers Market store in town. Ironically it is within walking distance of the house we moved from three years ago. It would have been nice but that’s how the avocado crumbles sometimes.
We drove up to North Raleigh today because we needed to pick up the corsage for Will to give his prom date tonight. He was busy running “Airman’s School” all day (?) Sprouts is the store of the moment filled with lots of organic produce and all things crossing between Trader Joes and Whole Foods.
As we debated between the organic red potatoes and the russets, blueberries came spilling all over the floor. This tall African American woman says, “I am NOT perfect yet and so now I have spilled my blueberries.” She was smiling and we were all scrambling on the floor picking up the berries. “I am 69 years old and I have learned what matters and what does not. Spilling blueberries does not.” Of course I am now staring in awe thinking, “Okay, God may have arrived in my midst with this profound message so I better pay attention.” I am also thinking, “Can you please be my wise and grounded friend?” But, once all the blueberries were retrieved I moved on to the Kombucha sampling trying once again to convince myself that this was a good thing and not like pouring vinegar down my throat. I still hate it by the way.
Soon, Shep came over to me and said, “I can’t believe what that woman just said.” “What?” I asked studying the Formaldehyde free nail polish. She said, “ Oh spilling blueberries didn’t stress me out. When my husband was executed, that was stressful.” She said this with a smile and a genuiness and Shep stood there speechless and stunned as I was as well when he related this to me.
It’s true isn’t it? I am still mulling this dramatic story over in my mind. We were checking out at the same time as this special woman and I watched her arguing with the checker to make sure she was charged for the empty container of blueberries. The clerk kept saying this was not necessary but this smiling woman insisted. I was so in awe of her that I took her picture. She WAS God, wasn’t she? Right in my midst. I forgot to even genuflect but I should have.
It is with an unbridled love that I watch my 18 year old son dress in a tuxedo to attend his prom. My heart bursts with pride as the hearts of all mothers who go before me have as well. I am not unique but in this moment, the love in my heart turns into tears of sweet joy for this beautiful boy of mine who has turned into a young man before my eyes.
His date is cute and nice though they are not really connected more than friends. My son along with the three other boys acts appropriately goofy. I am used to goofy. I have raised five sons and six really if you count the one who was only here for 27 months and obviously never went to prom. I raised him too albeit so briefly.
I didn’t go to a prom I was too busy rushing through my life though I cannot imagine what the rush was exactly. I skipped eighth grade along with my smart peers and then graduated from high school in January, a full semester ahead so as to rush off to college at only 16 years old. Why? I’ve no idea now, but I trust there was a reason then. The consequence of graduating in January was that there was NO prom and I have regretted this always. I want that corny prom picture that doesn’t exist.
So Will has donned his tuxedo and is off to dinner and then prom with his group of friends. In a few weeks he will walk in cap and gown, which might well undo me completely.
There is a another reason my heart is heavy though. Sam is not here. Sam is not in tuxedo. Sam is at a class on Fire Safety instead. He had no desire to attend prom and not much desire to attend anything school related over these last four years. He has not liked a moment of school and not really bonded with anyone in it. It was strictly perfunctory for him and mostly drudgery as well. He sees no reason for attending a dance in a tuxedo or all that goes with it. He has already moved on to his future and it is now. He’d rather be putting out fires than posing for pictures. I’m missing him tonight as he is at the firehouse instead. It’s so Sam. So very, very Sam and I love him for who he is.
I just brought these twin babies home from the hospital. I am sure of it because the terror in my heart in that moment is still palpable, so it couldn’t be 18 years ago. I’m not sure how I will absorb the purple cap and gown on June 9th. It is all so real and surreal at the same time. Keep them safe, keep them laughing, keep them sweet, but oh God most of all, do keep them safe.