Mom’s Heart

Mom’s Heart

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom

Mom’s Heart

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.
~Dr. Joyce Brothers

There were at least six inches of snow on the ground that Valentine’s Day morning. My brother and sister and I sat on the couch together, watching cartoons as if we ourselves might suddenly join the ranks of Captain Planet and go on to save the world from the evil of polluters. Mom urged us to leave the couch and told us to put on our winter clothes. We grumbled a little, wondering if this was going to be like that time Dad’s tractor broke down and we had no way of plowing the quarter-mile drive, meaning we had to shovel two paths all the way down. Mom assured us the tractor wasn’t broken; all we had to do was follow her.

Out in the field, she told us to walk in single file behind her, and for a moment I wondered if it was going to be some weird version of Simon Says. But what we soon began to realize as we looked back at the shape of the tracks we were forming in the snow, was that we were making a heart in our field. I had seen many hearts before, especially on Valentine’s Day. I had seen red and pink glittered ones, crayon hearts, scratch and sniff hearts. I had been barraged with hearts that Friday afternoon at school. But making one very large heart out in the snow struck me in a way none of the other hearts had. Together, we had tramped out this massive shape in our very own field.

We returned indoors for a moment to gather up bottles filled with water turned red from food coloring. We poured the red water out into our heart tracks, turning the snow red. We returned inside to refill again and again and then stepped back out into the winter world, despite our noses growing numb and goose bumps beginning to creep down our limbs. And when the heart was a red that matched the tulips from my mother’s spring garden, we all packed into the minivan and Dad drove us down to the lower road.

Though it took only minutes to get there, it seemed longer as we rode along, wondering if we’d be able to spot the heart from afar, if our creation was emblazed on our hillside for all those living on the lower road to see. We leaned forward in our seats, yearning to catch a glance of the field. Indeed, there our heart was, not exactly symmetrical, but a heart nonetheless. We cheered from the car and sat for a time looking at what we had made together before driving home.

It’s been at least a dozen years since then, and still, I have yet to have a Valentine’s Day memory that tops that one. That heart we stomped out in the field that day is not so different from Mom’s—large, unique and generous with its presence. Thanks, Mom.

~Rachel Furey

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