Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's the little things that get you: shower caps, iceberg lettuce, and cottage cheese.

This morning, after leisurely reading the paper, making a nice breakfast for my husband, and quickly checking email, facebook and etc., I realized I was going to have to step on it to make it to church on time.  Glancing in the mirror before jumping in the shower, I decided I could get by without washing my hair.  Thinking that it might be a good idea to assure my hairdo would survive the shower, I remembered I had a shower cap somewhere.  Yes, indeed, I did have a shower cap.  I had a lot of shower caps as a matter of fact.  Then, the tears started.

Julie had very curly hair.  She hated washing her hair at my house because we use a water softener.  She maintained that the soft water made her hair impossible to work with.  She was right.  Soft water does not work well with curly hair.  The last time she was here, she searched for a shower cap so she wouldn't have to deal with frizzy hair if she showered without washing her hair.  Finally, after a search through drawers, and her sister's bags, a shower cap was produced.

A few weeks later, my husband and I went to Europe for a month.  It seemed that every hotel had a free shower cap next to the bathroom sink.  The river boat that we went on also provided shower caps.  I began to collect them all.  I thought it would be a fun souvenir from the trip.  I planned on surprising Julie with a new shower cap from somewhere in Europe every time she came home.

Of course, Julie never came home again.  Her last trip home was on Easter weekend of this year.  We left for Europe about two weeks later.  I had forgotten about the shower caps until today.  I had stowed them away in a bathroom drawer when we returned home, and there they remained.  Who knew a shower cap could make one cry?

Iceberg lettuce has the same effect.  When I encounter it in a salad, I either get teary eyed, or I have to smile to myself about how much Julie hated iceberg lettuce.  She called it white trash lettuce, or wt lettuce for short.  My girls and I can't eat it without thinking of Julie.  Who knew that lettuce could bring out these powerful emotions?

Today at church, I ran into a friend who lost her daughter 14 years ago.  She recalled how the little things can trigger a memory or a reminder.  She said for her it is cottage cheese.  Her daughter was the only one in the house to eat cottage cheese.  I understand how cottage cheese can make one be struck with the terrible reality of what has been lost.  I get that.  I know that something as simple as cottage cheese can make a mother cry like she just lost her baby because, you see, she did.  She lost her beautiful daughter to cancer, and now she no longer buys cottage cheese.   She and I belong to a club neither of us wanted to join.  We know how it hurts to lose a child.  She understands, really understands, why I cried over that shower cap before I went to church this morning.