I'm about to lecture my grade five-and-a-half kid about the stuffing of her snowpants into the secret compartment of her fancy Land's End backpack, when the memory of a winter coat creeps in and silences me like the overnight snowfall that waits for us on the other side of the front door.
I was in grade nine and sitting about halfway back on the bus—not all the way in the back with the older boys and cool girls, but close enough that I was on the periphery. Sometime during the school day, a blizzard came and blasted the neighbourhood. It was still raging and as we approached our stop. And there, like a mirage in a snowy sandstorm, stood my mother and a coat.
She hadn't walked me to school since grade two and was never one to like the cold. She waited with her hood drawn tightly around her face, almost unrecognizable but for the coat she had folded across her arm.
It was puffy and long. It was also cotton-candy pink and off the rack of a discount department store. My parents, and their hard-earned money, never bought into the designer clothes I wanted them to (thank you for that, by the way). They bought whatever made sense, like a warm coat for a good price. They gave it to me and I stuffed in the front hall closet, where they assumed it was waiting for a cold day.
Even now I can hear the voice inside my head with its indignant scream, "Why would she do THIS to me?" The "Why would do this FOR me?" got lost in the howling noise. A mom and an ugly coat I was sure I'd lost my seat on the bus.
I stormed past her and her gesture feeling justified in my choice. Only years later, did I realize the rejection of the coast
My own daugther has her back