Every summer starting around the time I was eight years old until entering high school, my mother would spend hours reading to my sister and I.
Even on hot days, the three of us would camp out under a shade tree in the backyard lounging on aluminum-style lawn chairs, as mom regaled the entire Little Women series by Louisa May Alcott. I enjoyed these moments, listening to my mother's soothing voice, and daydreaming my way through the adventures of Jo March and her family.
I think of this fond childhood memory even more so now, since my mom passed away last year. Although not a mother myself, this Mother's Day I was lucky enough to receive a very special gift.
Over many months, my family has been sorting and passing along old photos, and miscellaneous treasured items belonging to mom. Although I have received some cherished mementoes, there was still one thing I longed to have, that precious set of books read to me every summer.
But after searching high and low, several times, the books were no where to be found, and my father began to think mom had donated them long ago. And as time wore on, I also began to lose hope, thinking my dad's hunch just might be right.
However just recently, my sister was cleaning the very back of a large closet, even though it was a space that had already been searched. Through her persistence, she uncovered a box hidden by a mountain of old magazines. Inside the box were the very books thought to be lost forever.
My sister had planned to surprise me with a package in the mail, but could not keep her discovery a secret. Call me crazy or superstitious, but I believe the timing serendipitous, perhaps to coincide with the Mother's Day holiday, or perhaps just a simple reminder of a mother's love and one last gift from mom.
* Photos Courtsey of Christa Nall