The Thinking 

The Meaning of a Lost Glove

December 3, 2012


ALAN writes:

One morning last week I was walking along a residential street in south St. Louis when I noticed, there on the sidewalk in front of me, a child’s glove.  No one else was walking nearby.  Evidently it had been dropped and not missed at that moment.

So what? So this:

It struck me the moment after I saw it and walked past it. The child’s glove reminded me instantly of something sacred and solemn:  A mother’s devotion.

It reminded me of my mother’s attentiveness to her little boy’s well-being on winter mornings more than half a century ago when she made sure I was dressed warmly before she let me go outside to play in the snow.

It reminded me of winter mornings in 1957-’59 when I walked through freshly-fallen snow on the seven-block path through Marquette Park to St. Anthony of Padua parochial school.

It reminded me of days when she took color slides as I built a snowman, or stood all bundled up in the midst of a snowscape in Tower Grove Park, or stood with my boyhood friend in our snow-covered back yard.

How small and dependent I was in those years, and how utterly unconscious of that fact until many years afterward.

The child’s glove was a tiny, silent reminder of her thoughtfulness, her understanding of her responsibility to her young son, a responsibility she never evaded and could not have evaded if she had tried.

It was a reminder of a thousand small gestures of love and concern that a mother gives to her child but whose significance the child may not realize for years afterward.  It was a reminder of such things that many children take for granted, as I once took for granted when I was young and unconscious of the extraordinary, priceless gift of such a mother.

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