“A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.”Sonia Sotomayor
There were plenty of them. Large and small, human and canine, boots and shoes, and more. Treads that were hardly worn and others whose soles sorely needed replacement. I walked slowly, impressed my boots into the pockets of untouched snow. I liked the design of my boot sole. I did this for a couple of blocks before I stopped to take a picture.
The varying directions and sizes made me smile. With every footstep Cocoa, Ruby, and I joined this display of anonymous imprints. It reminds me of our daily lives. We walk as if we are not connected to every person who we pass. We avoid eye contact. We look accusingly at the person who dares to speak in the quiet car of the commuter train. We check our watch when the cashier engages in conversation beyond the required, “Did you find everything that you were looking for today?” as if a trip to the grocery store is a treasure hunt. We spend more time avoiding mingling with humanity than being present. Pardon me, if I wrongly lumped you into the “we”. I’m wrong to assume, albeit broadly, but my gut tells me we are all guilty.
Yesterday, my mom called and said she needed to bring my leave-behinds from Christmas Eve. I wasn’t in need of any of them and I panicked and called my brother to ask if everything was ok with mom. He assured me it was. My query was somewhat justified because you just don’t swing by my house. It’s typically a 40-minute drive each way. I shrugged the worry aside, and straightened up the house, filled the tea kettle with water, and put a couple bags of Joy and Comfort into the teapot.
What happened next was a gift. I had a lovely afternoon with my mom. We talked about her mother, how she lives on through her and me, too. We confided, confessed, cajoled, cried, and comforted one another. We enjoyed the overlap in our lives, the mingling of our spirits in the freshly painted living room, we sat beside the perfect Frasier fir that celebrated a Christmas that came and went. We moved beyond the cursory how are you’s and listened, and celebrated our foibles and wins of the past year. We talked about acceptance, endurance, faith, and fellowship.
No sooner had she left than I rounded up the dogs, to get a walk in while the sun still warmed the Earth. I found myself focused on the sidewalk and overlap of our shoeprints. I was comforted by the reminder, whether my mother is near or far, she is always with me. As I walked around and over the paw and human prints, I know that I am never alone.
When I arrived home, I saw my mom called twice. I called her back, and my worry was quickly replaced by her voice.
“I’m home,” she said.
“Thank you for the special afternoon, Mom,” I replied.
“It was special, wasn’t it?,” she responded.
“Yes, mom it sure was,” I said.
I awoke this morning to rain. Yesterday’s early morning snow replaced by icy puddles, which may again be replaced later today with more snow; emblematic of the circle of life that plays forward every minute, every hour, every day, every week, every year. Every moment we choose where to leave our imprint. My wish for 2019, it to choose purposefully and to make the special moments last.