“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
–E. E. Cummings

I don’t feel complete unless there is laughter and smiles in my day. Even on days when I’m feeling cranky, am unreasonable, and shout because my moods have taken the best from me, I can count on laughter setting me right.

A few days ago I wandered into a stationery store. I didn’t wander aimless, though. I had a simple mission to buy a single postcard for hubby. I had told him that I had seen it when I was searching for other postcards. I described it to him and he said why didn’t you get it for me? I shrugged my shoulders and told him that I wasn’t sure if he’d actually want it. Now he has it.

Ever since childhood I’ve adored stationery stores. I remember when my mother would take me for tea and a sweet pastry after ice skating practice or one of her doctor’s appointments. After seeking her permission, I would wander over to the stationary store just across the way. I would look through all the stickers, turning the stands in search of the perfect set. I collected them. I had a book full of wonderful stickers of all kinds: stickers that sparkled and glittered; puffy stickers; hearts, bears, flowers–all sorts. I don’t remember her ever going into the store with me. I would run back and ask her if I could buy some stickers. She didn’t give in right away. She might take a sip of her coffee, ask me if I really needed them, and she would end up pulling out a few dollars from her purse and hand it to me. I ran back as quick as I could and I would return giggly–happy to have new stickers.

There were other stationery stores too. It wasn’t always stickers. Sometimes it was miniature calendars, pretty paper, pens. But always, she stayed outside in the car unless we were at that one breakfast shop where she could wait inside. She was dying, and as the cancer progressed, she was in pain more often; but as a little girl these realities register in the mind differently.

I realize, too, that my mother didn’t like being home, even if no one else was there. She preferred being out and about. As the cancer took its toll on her, these were some of the ways that we were able to spend time together, knowing that her life was drawing to a close. So, I see now that she not only needed me as her little rock, but that she also relished the last moments that we would share–and those moments I remember with the core of my being, with joy, and a hint of sadness. But what would life be without both?

She was serious and angry a good part of her later life, but right now in this moment, I can remember…I hear her laughter and see her smile, and it fills my soul with blue skies, sunshine, and the happy chatter of birds.

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