Why I used to Sneak into my Mother’s Dresser.


She knew I did it.
I just couldn’t help myself.

Her Treasure

her heart quickened as did her steps
with little time left she scurried to the bedroom,
with a slide of the gold button the jewelry box opened
with warm reception
dazzling bracelets hoping to be held were overlooked
there in a satin pouch lay her treasure
a gold compact case
blue rhinestones stood in a ‘ring around a rosy’
holding her captive
with a press of a tiny button the lid popped open
revealing powdered make-up
the face in the mirror was too young to wear it
and old enough to know
mother’s footsteps shortened fun
sliding her prize back among the jewelry
she made her exit
when questioned if she touched the box
she simply answered, “no”
but everyone knew otherwise

And after all these years the compact case still seems magical to me. To know she looked into this mirror that I now look into is a connection.

I have a kinship with the reflection in the mirror. She has aged through the years, as I have. Yet there is something familiar about her eyes.

No longer can I smell the powder in the compact case, but I remember it just the same. It was a faint sweetness like the fragrance of a honeysuckle flower.

I’d watch her face transform right before my eyes. The bright red lipstick would be the final touch. She looked beautiful with her raven hair and her milky white skin. I wanted to be like her.

I wish I had a mirror to show me her reflection again, instead of relying on the dusty ones in my mind. I wish I had more memories stored away.

One moment in time spans years. It makes you wonder which of your moments will be recalled in the minds of others.

Will it be a word you spoke to a broken heart? A hug you hoped would hold someone together?

Perhaps just the touch of a hand on a shoulder.

Mom didn’t know her life with us would be cut short. If so, she would have played with us and worked less. The memories of having fun with her are so few.

One New Years Day we played a board game. I stared at her as she sat with us.

The few the memories, the more valuable they are.

Watching a movie in black and white on a summer night while eating a sundae she brought home from the Snack Shop.

Riding downtown Chicago on the El after stopping at Goldblatt’s for some block chocolate.

Standing at a bus stop on a winter day and having her put my cold hand in her pocket.

Small memories can affect you in a big way.

Like a compact case, a pink high chair, or even “I love you,” etched on a piece of paper. They are valuable.

Moments make memories we keep forever.

We need to make our moments count.

What’s one memory you’ll never forget?

Today I read an inspiring post by Pamela Hodges. You can read her post HERE. Thanks, Pamela.

22 thoughts on “Why I used to Sneak into my Mother’s Dresser.

  1. I’m glad you have sweet memories of your mom. I wish she hadn’t worked so much. The story reminded me to pay attention to Joe, so we are sitting together right now playing a computer game.


  2. Anne, I too remember playing in my mom’s cupboard, I enjoyed fingering the fabrics of her dresses and trying on her shoes. She still has a magnificent shoe collection. Trips down memory lane…precious.


  3. Beautiful, sensitive, and well written post, Anne!

    Funny how your story resonates with one of my own. My mom did not have the luxury of having a compact case. All she had was a burned clove, rose-petal cologne she made herself, and a piece of coco butter, all of which would have last for years, hadn’t I used them any chance I got!

    I might follow your lead and write a post about it next week!

    Ending with the idea of making good use of the time we have with the people we love brings the post to a higher level.

    Thanks for sharing your memories!


    • Thanks for reading it Katina.

      I was hoping others would be able to resonate with this post. One time when I was in a creative writing class the teacher asked us to bring in an item that was special to us. I brought the compact case. A while after that, I wrote that poem. It is special to me that I hold something my mother held. Also that it enamored me for all these years.

      Missing our loved ones does cause us to be more mindful of our time with those left behind.

      I hope you do write about it. See Pamela’s idea keeps going and going and going.


  4. Fantastic writing, Anne! I truly enjoyed reading it. I love the style of this writing. I loved the descriptions. I loved the picture. Beautiful.

    Makes me really miss my mother. And how appropriate to really do some soul searching this week before Mother’s Day. This might actually prompt me to write a letter to my mom. She has been gone 20 years. You knew me when I was so sick and that is when she passed. I never thought I could live without her. She was my best friend and was a beautiful woman of faith and love.


  5. Judy,
    Thanks so much for your comments. They were encouraging. I’m sure you do miss your mother and how difficult it must have been to lose her when you were hurting. It just compounded everything for you.

    She would have been proud of who you became Judy. Someone who loves deeply and gives from her heart. I hope you do write a letter. It can be healing even after so many years.

    I don’t believe there is ever closure on this side of glory. How can you love someone with your whole heart and not feel torn when they pass on. Of course you’re happy they are in a wonderful place. You just miss the gift they were to you. But one day, Judy. You will be reunited, and heaven will smile along with you and your mom.


  6. Nice post Anne. I enjoyed it. You have a gift of memoir for sure. I loved this line” I wish I had a mirror to show me her reflection…


    • Troy,
      Thanks for reading it. I loved that same line. When you’re writing and the words jump out on the paper without any coaxing. Oh, that’s satisfying. And yet, we spend time trying to remove stubborn words that refuse to go. Words that think just because they made it in they are indispensable.


  7. “I don’t believe there is ever closure on this side of glory. How can you love someone with your whole heart and not feel torn when they pass on.” Oh Anne, how true this is. When I see people say “At least they are in a better place” to someone I cringe. Though it might be true, the loss is still raw for the suffering


    • Christa,
      Thanks for reading it, I have read so many things about grief and the consensus is that there IS closure here. My next book will be on grief. I want people to realize grief takes as long as it takes. I too cringe when people give “pat,” answers that show they just want you to move on. Jesus did not back away from those who were hurting. Not once.


  8. Hi Anne,
    This is my first visit to your blog, but it won’t be the last. I so appreciated your helpful comments on Tribewriters. (I hope to finish that soon!)
    How tragic to lose your mom at such a young age. I love this phrase: which of your moments will be recalled in the minds of others. A good reminder to live with purpose.


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