Every situation is made up of ingredients: a time, a place, maybe other people and the circumstances that tie them all together.
Do you have a favorite memory...a particular time when you felt loved and that everything was alright with the world...where you felt, most of all, safe? I have that kind of memory. And, when life feels a little overwhelming and uncertain, I turn to this memory like a well-worn blanket...a little tattered and faded but soft and familiar.
It was 1999 and my Mom had decided to go along with me on a business conference in San Diego. She didn't get to travel much and, since the lodging was paid for, I thought it would be a treat to bring her a long for the ride. We had a blast.
But, on the last evening of the meeting, I developed a migraine and became pretty much incapacitated. We were both disappointed because the closing entertainment that evening was Kenny Loggins performing at a venue on the water a few blocks away. We had so looked forward to going.
But instead we were room-bound and my Mom's maternal instincts kicked into high gear. Using her traditional comfort method of Vick Vapor Rub slathered under my nose and a warm compress soothing my temples, she gently laid my head in her lap and slowly squeezed my head to help relieve the pain.
We had ordered room service as well as a movie and decided to make a night of it as my headache slowly subsided. I'll never forget what a special treat it was for her when room service arrived. The pomp and circumstance of the waiter wheeling in our table, setting it up ever so carefully between our two beds and finishing with a fresh flower in a bud vase... well, that thrilled my Mom to no end.
After dinner, we happened to walk out on our balcony just as the post-concert fireworks burst into a kaliedescope of colors in the night sky. We stood there, side by side, in awe of this exciting end to our evening. If I close my eyes, I am instantly transported back to that special night.
Even as an adult woman, I encounter situations in life that make me want to run and duck for cover. Feelings of inadequacy, uncertainty and even physical issues like headaches encourage me to return to that room and that night in San Diego. Nearly a decade has gone by but the impact it had on my life is fresh in my mind. It's my warm and comforting blanket, enveloping me with the feeling that I am loved, I am safe and everything will be OK.
And, although I can no longer see those fireworks, each one of the brilliant colors displayed that night is a reminder of all the ways that special lady loved me. I miss her so.