The student was new to class, making up a lab that he couldn’t attend due to a conflict. He was tall, lanky and well mannered. He thanked me more than once for allowing him to join my class and complete his work. He set to work immediately, asking questions for clarification and understanding.
When the experiment was complete, he was careful to clean up his lab bench and return stock bottles to the common area for other students to use. Then he set to folding his lab coat.
He laid it out carefully on the clean bench top, buttoned it up and shook out the garment. Turning the coat on its front, he straightened and folded with crisp lines and much attention to detail. His lab partner was standing by, with a smile on his face and shaking his head. It was then that I commented, “Would you like to come over and fold clothes at my house?” He laughed, no doubt hearing similar questions in the past, and replied, “My mom was in the army” as a means of explanation for his attention to his lab coat. “I love your mom!” I said. He laughed then and agreed, “I love her too.” His lab partner added that he wound up his own lab coat into some sort of a sphere and crammed it in his book bag … and it fit just the same. But it wasn’t the same. Here was a young man whose mom made an impression on him; he was away at college, after all, he didn’t have to keep folding his clothes so neatly. But he did. Every time he folded clothes he was reminded of his mom; the connection was there, even if she wasn’t.
It reminded me of how I make my bed every morning. My mom said that the bed needed to be made every day. It was the first thing accomplished for the day and set the tone of having things accomplished. My dad liked the feel of cool, crisp sheets, so mom would be sure to smooth everything out and tuck in the ends every morning… just the way dad liked it. After mom died, I would take on the task of making the bed for dad. Now it’s just me, and I make my bed every morning with the same care I did for dad…. tucking in the ends and everything. Just another way of being connected ….
How do you stay connected to loved ones?