Even though the sky look ominous, we still packed up the van last Friday to head out for our weekly afternoon at the park with our homeschool group. Since Florida evidently forgot all about Spring and launched full tilt into Summer, we had all planned to bring some sort of water amusement. Water balloons were all the rage last week. But this week, many of the children came armed with super soakers, the junior redneck aqua equivalent to a single-barreled shotgun. With a scope.
As we parked, rain began to fall softly. Undaunted, we headed for our usual spot under the pavilion, while the children ran willy nilly out in the rain. Which, by the time we reached shelter, had become a downpour.
The weather cooled, and a number of us moms sat huddled under the pavilion at picnic tables, watching our children have water pistol shootouts in the driving rain. We looked at one another and declared that we are either an intrepid group of homeschooling moms, or else we’re simply desperate to get out of the house.
I believe it’s a sprinkling of the two.
And yes, there is one sweet homeschooling mom that has never allowed her children to play with anything that resembles a firearm. However, by afternoons end, she told them to have at it and watched as her children mowed each other down with super soakers.
Another friend of mine had the same idea, and declared her home a weapon-free zone. That is, until one of her boys gnawed his way through a bagel until it resembled a handgun, wherein he shot his brother dead at the breakfast table.
Anyhoo. While we were seated in the no-shooting area (code for where the moms and their cell phones were located), watching our children with amusement, I noticed a man walk up the sidewalk. One of the boys took aim at him and fired. I noted to his mother, “I hope your son knows that man.” It was his father.
As he walked up, I noticed that he was wearing a Southwest Airlines polo shirt. My mother worked for Southwest Airlines for many years at the Phoenix Reservation Center as a Supervisor, right up until the time she died in 1999.
I asked this man if he worked for Southwest (I know, here’s yer card) and he said that yes he did. I didn’t really know his wife, but she looked very familiar to me, and I’m sure that we have attended the same homeschooling events. I told them that my mom worked for SW for many years in Phoenix. She brightened as she told me that she and her husband worked for Southwest in Phoenix in the 90’s. She asked me who my mother was, and I told her.
Her jaw dropped open. She said, of course I knew your mother, and she went on to describe my mother to a tee. My mom was a force of nature, and the people she came in contact with were likely never to forget her. She stuck out like a sore thumb in Arizona, what with her big hair, southern accent, and deep and abiding love for Mexican Food and Margaritas. She had a wonderful way with people. I always marveled at her ability to meet new people and make them feel like they were the most special person in the room. She dearly loved her job at Southwest Airlines, and I know she was greatly missed there when she died.
So here I am sitting with this sweet homeschooling mom, who now lives in the same tiny Florida town that I do, who worked with my mom in the Reservation Center in Phoenix for many years. She even knows my moms two very best friends. The same two friends that unselfishly gave of their time and came to stay with us so that they could help care for my mom with hospice until she died.
What a gift. To be able to sit under a pavilion in the rain, to laugh and talk to someone about my bigger than life mom. I got a little choked up when I introduced my own 3 children to her and told them that this lady knew their Grandma Margaret. My mom died just shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Emme. She wanted nothing more than to be a grandmother.
I don’t believe so much in coincidence. I do think that this chance meeting was orchestrated by a God that knew how much I have been missing my mom, especially in this season just before Mother’s Day.
And that was the best gift I could receive.