My Mother always kept a calculator on her kitchen table…
…except for mealtimes of course.
It was the type of calulator that had a roll of printing paper in the back.
With every calculation Mother punched in, it would answer her back with a resounding:
I really learned to hate that sound.
No, I never much liked that calculator at all.
Maybe because I was jealous.
Maybe because it was better at math than I was.
And faster too.
And the printed paper that got spit out with the correct sum of the calculations was proof that yes, the calculator was smarter than I was.
I was never any good at numbers.
Mother always claimed the same.
She repeated to me again and again how much she disliked her chosen profession of accounting.
And yet, she tenaciously clung to her accounting business until her very last days.
Mother was a Virgo to my Pieces.
She was a black-and-white mentality with no room for grey in between.
However, as her daughter I was pragmatic and given to compromise.
It seemed that we disagreed on just about everything over the last few years:
Even our own religion.
Towards the end, I made it a point to seriously pray for strength and guidance while I visited my mother.
The last thing I wanted to do was to get upset or angry with her.
The problem was mine.
I needed to learn more patience, as she grew more forgetful, more confused, more tenacious and more stubborn.
I asked my friends if their Mothers ever drove them crazy.
The answer was a resounding yes.
However, one of the few things that united Mother and I, and bound us up in love was when we agreed at how blessed we were to be part of the Scherer family legacy.
It was always a positive point of reference to return to after one of our more challenging discussions.
When word came that Mother was on end-of-life care, we had to begin dismantling her apartment.
At last, it was time to clear out her favourite corner of the apartment.
That’s where she sat by her round wooden table with her computer to her left and her paperwork to her right.
It’s where she sat and surfed through Amazon stores to find her amazing clothes.
It’s where she ate her meals, did her accounting, played on the computer, did her nails, and spoke on the phone.
Clearing out this wonderful little nook was going to be tough.
It was only then that I noticed Mother’s calculator on the top of the table as always.
It was at least 25 years old, ivory white, bulky, with a roll of paper in the back awaiting it’s next calculation.
It was then that I realized again how much I really despised that calculator.
How many times had Mother and I been in mid conversation, when suddenly, out of nowhere, she would begin to madly press the calculator buttons, which was followed by the inevitable:
Had our conversation been that boring?
Not taking my eyes off the calculator, I paused a few moments to consider my options of what to do with this contemptible machine.
Then, without knowing why, I surprised myself by throwing it into the “stuff to take home” box on my right side rather than the garbage bin to the left.
No doubt, you must be curious as to why I did not want to throw it away after secretly despising it for the past twenty-five years.
Well, as with many of Mother’s things , I guess I just was not ready to let it go.
Now, you cannot imagine my disappointment last weekend when I couldn’t find Mother’s calculator in any of the boxes that I brought home from Vermont.
I had assumed that it was forgotten, or mixed in with boxes designated to stay behind.
However, looking back, I now understand the reason for why it was left behind.
Maybe I wasn’t willing to let go of Mother’s calculator….
However, it’s clear to me now…
That Mother’s calculator…
…Was willing to let go of me.
(Photo above is of my husband’s calculator, almost identical to Mother’s.)