I was headed towards a Wal-Mart check-out line last night when I did a double take at the prominently displayed “Mother’s Day gift ideas” promo shelf up at the front of the store. It was stocked with some of the sorriest looking art “projects” I’ve ever seen and all I could think was “Oh crap, let me check this out so I can be prepared to look pleased a week from Sunday.” (Because the last-minute gift display shelf is exactly where my husband will go with the five kids next weekend. Here me now, believe me later.)
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man in a wheelchair who was near the display and the look on his face told me he thought my double-take was because of him. Written on his face was the very bitter question: “Are you done staring yet?” And I hope what was written on mine was this: “The great-uncle who raised my mom was a WW2 vet and I grew up with him in his chair. They are no big deal to me except, now that I’m getting a closer look at yours, I know he would have wanted one just like it.” (It was lightweight and seemed to have a lot more range of motion than any of the ones Uncle J ever used.)
But in the end, he said nothing and I said nothing and we both missed an opportunity to understand each other better. And I’m totally getting crap gifts for Mother’s Day. But at least I know what to expect.