A comment from Melissa over at Motherhood Is An Art reminded me of a funny story about my mom and flamingos. We were commenting how loved ones who have passed can sneak into our daily lives and give us a smile every now and then. I need to give some background on this before I get to the actual story. My mom and her sister had an ongoing friendly game of What’s the Next Flamingo going to be, or maybe Where. Every year for Christmas and birthdays and probably a few unexpected times in between, they would send each other flamingo gifts. It could be a set of towels or a cookie jar or who knows what. One time my mom woke up to a flamingo party on her back patio complete with blow up flamingos swinging from the ceiling fan! When my cousin got married, my aunt came home to flamingos announcing where the party was, which, of course, was usually wherever my mom was. That’s a brief history of The Flamingo Games.
When my mom died my aunt bought this great flower arrangement for the funeral home. It was a giant flamingo made of flowers! I don’t have a picture of it in my computer, unfortunately. It was hilarious and my aunt was all proud of herself for having the last laugh. The next day we held the funeral luncheon at a country club that my mom belonged to when she was growing up. It was lovely and my mom had picked the menu before she passed. After the food was served everyone toasted my mom with Irish coffee and my mom’s best friend came out with a gift for my aunt. She said that it was from my mom and that my mom wanted her open it at her funeral luncheon. My aunt didn’t know what to think, I can only imagine that she was touched by the thoughtfulness of my mom to give her a gift and comfort her. My aunt gently opened the wrapping and the box and pulled out……..A Flamingo Bathrobe! First came the stunned silence, then came the raucous laughter. My mom had snuck into her own funeral and brought joy to everyone there. Also, she had the last laugh which is so like my mom.
Remembering this story brings me joy and a bit of sadness because she isn’t here to make us smile anymore, but she still is, in every flamingo I see. Shortly after that, I was shopping at a thrift store with one of my mothers-in-law and I found a flamingo cookie jar. I couldn’t pass it up and it now sits on a sofa table for most of the year. The rest of the year it is in my room where I can still see it. As soon as I post this I’m going to get it and put it back on the sofa table in the living room. Spring is having a hard time arriving this year, maybe the flamingo will chase the winter away. At the very least, it will help my heart to bloom again.
Everyone should find some bit of something special that can brighten your day and bring some Spring into your life. Flamingoes do it for me.
P.S. The Flamingo Games continue. Sadly, a year after my mom died, my aunt lost her daughter, my cousin Amy, in a car accident. On the 1 year anniversary of her death, my aunt and uncle awoke to a flamingo covered front yard and a sign saying that it was from Amy and Peggy (my mom). It helped to lighten their grief that day and remember that Amy and Peggy are together now and both still sneaking into our lives and having fun!
- Flock This Way To The Oregon Zoo’s New Flamingo Exhibit! (thebestofportland.typepad.com)
- Pink flamingos return to the Oregon Zoo (oregonlive.com)
- Flock this way: Flamingos at zoo (koinlocal6.com)
- Oregon Zoo shows off new pink flamingos (koinlocal6.com)
- Finny and the Flamingos (pbenjay.wordpress.com)
- Pretty in Pink (francineinretirement.wordpress.com)