48: First Born Daughters

48: First Born Daughters

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Messages from Heaven

First Born Daughters

The tie which links mother and child is of such pure and immaculate strength as to be never violated.

~Washington Irving

A week before my mother passed away, she gave me her diamond anniversary ring and my grandmother’s fiftieth-anniversary wedding band. When I slipped on the first one, chills ran through me. I’m the firstborn daughter, as were my mom and my grandmother. The spark of family connection brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t believe each was the perfect size for my ring finger.

A year later while reading in bed, I drifted off to sleep. In my dream, I drove in an unfamiliar city and stopped for a traffic light. I was headed toward a store that had advertised an antique fainting couch. I had to have one. I drove for miles searching for the store. But I never arrived. The dream faded. I awoke with a real sense of disappointment.

The next day’s newspaper featured an announcement about a new antique store an hour away. They sold fainting couches. I gasped. Was this a sign my dream could come true? I laughed and decided it was a mere coincidence. But I’d wanted a Victorian couch for a long time, so I hurried and dressed.

I always wore my grandmother’s gold wedding band, but I couldn’t find it that morning. For fifteen minutes, I searched everywhere. No luck. It had mysteriously disappeared. Shaking my head, I slipped on my mother’s diamond ring and promised to look for it later.

As I drove to the antique store, the steering wheel jerked toward the right. I flinched. Maybe the car had struck a rut? I checked my speedometer and tapped the brakes. I was going ten miles per hour over the speed limit.

“Suzanne, slow down,” my mother’s voice said loud and clear from behind me. The hairs on my neck and arms rose. I stomped the brakes and checked the rearview mirror. I swallowed hard. The wheel jerked right a second time. Spooked, I lowered my speed even more.

That’s when I heard a massive squealing of tires. On the other side of the road, a blue sedan had accelerated to pass a semi-truck. The driver misjudged the speed of an oncoming car. He swerved and jammed on the brakes. Tires screeched as he lost control. The sedan spun toward the median and started to skid towards me. It struck two other automobiles and rolled a couple of times. The car slid sideways, scraping against the tarmac in a burst of sparks and flames. It crashed into the curb and stopped half a block ahead of me.

I turned my car into a shopping center parking lot. I could hardly breathe. I turned off the ignition and slouched in the seat. My hands trembled in my lap. What just happened? My mother’s voice had warned me. Did she yank the steering wheel too?

A pickup truck followed me in and parked a couple of spaces away. The driver bolted from his truck, raced over and rapped on my window. I lowered the window.

“Are you okay?” he asked and frowned.

“Yes,” I said. “A little shaky, but that’s all.”

“What made you slow way down like that? If you hadn’t, we’d both have been in that car’s path.”

“My mother, she. . . she told me to.”

He leaned over and peered into the back seat. His eyes widened and I knew he questioned the emptiness.

“Funny thing is. . . she’s dead. But it was her voice.” I cleared my throat.

“Well, thank God for that. I’ll say a prayer for her. My family will thank her too.” He turned and walked back to his car.

I sat and thought about the previous night’s strange dream. Today could have ended in a real nightmare, but I survived because of my mother. I kissed her ring. In spirit, Mom had ridden in the back seat. She still watched over me. I was safe and the fainting couch could wait. I turned around and drove home.

Two days later, I searched for my grandmother’s ring. I made it my mission not to stop till I located it. That’s when I heard Mom’s voice again. “Suzanne, move the dresser.”

“What?” I said, shivering. Then an unexpected warmth surged through me. I got my husband. I needed his muscles to shove aside the triple dresser. With him and God as my witness, we found Grandma’s wedding band sparkling under the dresser in a small pile of dust. I stared at it, speechless. Mom’s spiritual guidance had helped me a second time. I smiled and reached for the precious piece of jewelry. I wiped it clean, slipped the gold band on my ring finger and stared toward heaven. “Thanks, Mom.”

~Suzanne Baginskie

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