In my kitchen at the back of the drawer that holds the hotpads, is a green oven mitt. Worn, with a few holes in it, the mitt is visible every time I open the drawer. Its mate, regrettably, was lost in a move. The mitt’s been around for almost 30 years. It is my hope that it will always be there.
Mac’s Hardware in Webster Groves in October of 1985 carried a little bit of everything–the usual nuts and bolts, children’s toys and books along with kitchen and gift items. For Dana, newly five, it was the place to go and buy her much loved Mercer Mayer and Berenstain Bear books. Her birthday and allowances had created a bankroll for her, $12.50, enough to buy five of her favorite books.
For days Dana counted her money from her big pig bank, asking me if she had enough money for sales tax. She waited until Saturday to go to Mac’s in order for her weekly allowance to be in hand.
Saturday morning off we went to Mac’s. As soon as we entered the store, Dana looked at me and said, “Mommy, you need to stay right here. I don’t want you to help me. I want to buy this all by myself. Don’t even look at the cash register.”
I glanced at Dana then to our regular cashier, smiled and nodded, promising to stay in gardening supplies. In a few minutes, the transaction was completed and Dana grabbed my hand and said she was ready to go.
As she buckled her car seat, Dana held her bag tightly. Entering the house, Dana headed straight to her bedroom and shut the door. I figured she was eager to look at her birthday purchases.
The next morning at breakfast, Dana came downstairs holding a package wrapped in Dana designed and decorated paper.
A gift for me. As I opened the present, I gasped in surprise. Inside were two oven mitts. Forest green. I had admired them at the hardware store months before, but had deemed them too expensive at $6.25 a piece. In 1985, you could eat a nice lunch out for $3.00, tip included.
Two oven mitts lay on my lap. Two mitts that took every penny my daughter had saved.
I had never been the recipient of such a gift.
“Do you like them, Mommy?”
“They,” I said “are the best gift ever”.
In my kitchen drawer there is a worn green oven mitt. For me, it symbolizes the love a child has for his or her parents. To me it represents how the love for adults, intense and pure, motivates the actions of children, if only we take the time to see from that point of view.
It is my hope the mitt will always be there, reminding me to evermore handle that love with care.