You are viewing my old blog.
I would love to have you visit my brand new website at
Knowing God better, figuring out marriage, investing in my kids, exploring the Scripture, discovering truth, savoring life's joys and writing about the journey . . . visit a while with me.

Search This Blog

Friday, May 11, 2018

the sea shell

Shell, Shells, Nature, Beautiful, Beauty“I’m going to walk along the beach.” I drop the words over my shoulder as I walk past the recliner where my husband sits. I touch his arm; he half-smiles, his eyes lazy with fatigue. “Okay. But don’t stay too long; I want to take you out for supper.”
      I waggle my fingers in a goodbye motion as I open the door on a watery world. The condo is one of several on this stretch of prime beach property in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. We don’t own it, but we have a generous friend who couldn’t use her time share. 
     “You take it.” She said. “After the wedding, you’ll need a quiet place to rest and 
recharge.” She got an impish twinkle then. “And maybe, revive some romance.”
     I rolled my eyes at her, outwardly downplaying what sounded like a good idea. Or at least, it might have if I hadn’t been to the saturation point with all things related to romance.
     Weddings do that to the mother of the bride. What once seemed so sweet and wonderful evokes near nausea. Oh, it has nothing to do with the groom, bless his heart. Poor dear already fears his mother-in-law (gracious, is that me?) No, the sick feeling washes over me every time I realize anew that romance in my daughter’s life means she’s changed homes as well as names. My legs suddenly feel weak, and I sink to the sand. It is sun-warmed and damp. I wish I could reclaim my emotional balance as well.
     A wave breaks at my feet, its foam reminding me of frothy bridal dresses. I remember the other times she wore white – her christening, a friend’s wedding, her high school graduation. I wonder if white is a color anyway, or just an empty space left when the vibrancy of life is gone.
     A solitary shell sits a couple feet from me; I stretch to get it. The underneath is satiny smooth, with a wondrous pink tint. I gentle my finger across it. My little girl always treasured shells. Her collection in a large pickle jar sits on the shelf in her closet; it didn’t make the cut of the things that moved with her. I put the shell back on the sand for another little girl to discover and release the tears that have been threatening me all afternoon.
     A vortex of emotion controls me. I birthed that child, taught her to play patty-cake, told her the story about The Three Bears, scolded her, hugged her, dressed her and worried over her. I miss my mommy role. Yet, I delight in the woman she has become, partly with my help, partly in her own right, through God’s goodness. I would not keep her a child, unaware of the greater scope of living. A mother joys in the blossoming of her child though all the while she frets over the process. Oh, what a complicated thing is motherhood. I hope a day will come when this season too will seem normal and good.
     The phone in my pocket rings. “Hello?”
     “Hi . . . Mom?”
     I swallow hard, put brightness in my voice. “Hi, baby! How are you?” (Dumb question. She’s a happy bride.)
     “Awesome . . . except I just spilled shrimp cocktail sauce on my new skirt.”
     “Uh-oh. The one we bought last week?”
     “Mm-hm. A big spot right in front. And I can’t remember if I’m supposed to use 
hot or cold water on this kind of stain.”
     The mothering nature in me wants to remind her how many times we’ve discussed laundry stains and their treatment, and then I realize I’m being asked something by my adult daughter. She needs me. Sure, it’s a small thing, but after all, isn’t most of mothering about the small things in life? And the small things usually turn out to be the most important.
     The world slowly tilts back into focus. The beach is beautiful. The sunny day is glorious. The sand welcomes my toes. The clouds are happy puffs of white—white is a color after all. I’m a mother. Mothers make things better. I hug her with my voice. “Don’t worry; I’m sure you can get it out. Go to the restroom and dab it gently with cold water. Then, when you get to your room, use one of those stain wipes we packed, okay?”
      “Okay.” I hear a voice in the background. “Oh, and I’m supposed to tell you (from the guy sitting across from me that the chicken salad at the reception was amazing, and that we can’t wait to visit and eat more of your cooking.”
     The afternoon is totally brilliant. My heart and voice smile. “That’s sweet. I’m looking forward to it too.” Come to think of it, she’d married a guy with some good qualities.
     “Well, I need to go now.”
     “Okay, honey. It was nice to hear from you.”
     “Bye, Mama. I love you.”
     The words pull me into a wave of wonderfulness. I catch my breath and whisper. “I love you too.”
     I stand up to start toward the condo. My phone rings again. The screen displays the name of a friend who has been with me through everything and who understands my journey like no one else. I smile as I answer. “Hi, Babe. Where are you taking me tonight?”
     Out of the corner of my eye, I see a mother and a little girl walking my way, collecting shells. I pick up the one beside me to give to her. She’ll love it. 

 - VQ 

All content on this site is protected under personal copyright by Valorie Bender Quesenberry. Please ask permission to reprint.