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Pay It Forward...For Your Mother

Updated on November 29, 2014

Moms Bring Out the Best of the Holiday Season

I can still smell her perfume lingering in the guest room. Every time I take my mother to the airport, I wonder how many more of these holiday visits we will have. My mother is now 83. I can’t remember a time when she wasn’t in my life. I can’t imagine a time in the future without her. The holidays bring out strong emotions connected to the sixty holiday seasons that my mother always made magical, even without ‘a pot to piss in’ (as my grandmother used to say). It’s extremely bittersweet every time we part.

However, something happened today that turned around my usual angst before saying good-bye to my mother. I must attribute this turn of events to a bit of holiday magic dust my mother undoubtedly brought with her two days before Thanksgiving. I picked her up from the Sacramento International Airport at around noon on Tuesday. We stopped for a quick bite at a local coffee shop right off of the freeway. As we were walking to the car, my mother bent down to pick up a crumpled twenty-dollar bill in the middle of the parking lot. “Wow,” she said, “It must be my lucky day.”

The next morning there was an anniversary card on the kitchen table addressed to my husband and me. In it was the crumpled twenty-dollar bill. “Oh mom,” I said, “You don’t need to do this.” She answered, “It’s your twenty-year anniversary, so it was meant to be.” I said, “I’ll give it to Glenn because he’s cooking the Thanksgiving feast.” I put the card in my purse to give to Glenn upon his return from work.

We spent a lovely five days with family and my friends, and even managed to see a few good movies. While getting ready to leave this morning, my mother walked into my room with a sad face and said, “I lost my wallet.” I asked her about her credit cards. Thank goodness she has a separate wallet for those; however, she had $150 and her checkbook in the missing wallet. After we searched the house and the car, it dawned on me that yesterday at the movie theater I had put her purse in the empty seat next to mine. I remembered my mother putting the wallet in her unzipped purse after purchasing the tickets. I knew the wallet must have fallen out when I handed her the purse in the dark. We hurriedly got ready and I drove back to the theater at 9 a.m.

It was raining, so I left my mother in the car in front of the closed cinema. I banged on the glass doors to be let in. A sweet young lady opened one door and allowed me to check the seats where we had sat the day before. Nothing. She took my contact information and told me that the manager would be in soon. Mom was praying to St. Anthony in the car, even though she had just told me to let it go. “It’s okay, sweetie, it’s only money; things could be a lot worse.” I grew up with that mantra.

We were finishing up breakfast in the same café off of the freeway when my cell phone rang. “Hello…” I knew, before I knew, it was about the wallet. “Hi Jeaninne, Century Cinemas calling, can you give me more information about the wallet?” I relayed every detail. The gal on the other end said, “We have your wallet… and the money.” Mom and I hugged, paid our bill, and dashed back to the theater.

The same sweet girl who let me in the cinema was working the coffee counter when I excitedly recognized her. She politely said, “Oh, hello again, the manager in the ticket booth has your wallet.” I remembered the anniversary card in my purse and took out the crumpled twenty-dollar bill. I said, “This money went through many hands to get to you. Thank you so much for your help; and more importantly, your honesty.” She protested, but my mother and I wouldn’t take no for an answer. All the way to the airport we were feeling giddy on goodness. I even forgot about being sad.

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