Since I was twelve, I have had a difficult relationship with my mother. Several years ago, I was preparing to embark on a trip to France with my friend, Cindy. I asked my mother what I could get for her in France -- chocolates, perfume -- she gave me a short list and then added, "And a heart shaped stone."
"When you're at Mont St. Michel, see if you can't find me a heart shaped stone."
And I did. We were walking along the causeway, just before the tide came in (this is before they added the slick, raised, paved causeway). I looked down and saw a heart-shaped stone.
I have made it one of my travel traditions to look for a heart-shaped stone for my Momma...even if we aren't speaking.
I have a nice little collection now.
A dark greenish heart stone I found near castle ruins in Scotland.
A heart shaped stone that appears to be a piece of masonry I found near a chateau in France.
A smooth light gray heart stone plucked from the shores of my beloved Ireland...
I am grateful for this tradition because it helps me to stay connected to my mom in a simple, painless way. It also reminds me that no matter how far I travel, no matter how much I see and experience, I should remember to look for and value the "small" treasures life offers.