Why It’s Okay to Cry in Dollar Tree

I cried in Dollar Tree on Saturday. No, it wasn’t from nostalgia or the incredibly great deals they have there. It wasn’t over the fact I used to work there. Let me be raw with you all today… bear with me as I may cry again on this.

It all started with a Halloween display full of knick-knacks. You know those little porcelain-esque figurines that are themed for the various holidays? Yeah, those threw me into a whirlwhind. How could something so small and seemingly meaningless have such a profound effect on me? The immediate attachment in my mind of those is to my mamaw. (for all you non-Southern readers that’s a term we use for grandmother alot in the South, mainly Tennessee)

She used to buy those alot, in the years following my papaw’s passing. She had a routine. One of my uncles or my mom would take her to stay at her sister’s house on Friday nights. My mamaw never learned to drive, which I think is a daring and bold move. They would have dinner, a sleepover, and enjoy life together as widows. It was an endearing bond to see them together, acting as if they were 16 again and not well into their 70s. On Saturdays they would walk to Wal-Mart that rested below my great aunt’s apartment and spend the day in the shopping center there.

Dollar Tree was at the end of that shopping center where Wal-Mart was, and they would stop in to find treasures. This is where she found those lovely figurines often. When I was home from my first year from college, I decided working there part time would be great since everything cost $1 and it was relatively easy to straighten stuff. They both would come in often and visit me while I was working. The staff knew them, and loved them as if they were their own family.

My mamaw passed five years ago around Mother’s Day. It was a difficult time in my life around her passing as I was incredibly close to her, and felt like a piece of my life was vacant and empty. She had such an influence in my life, as did my papaw who passed when I was young but whose voice still resonates in my heart. For a couple of years in my childhood I was able to spend my summers with her, and I cherish the impact that had on me even now at 31.

She taught me how to stifle a laugh so that people knew just how much you enjoyed them while still being a lady in their presence. She taught me how to thread a needle, and sew everything by hand. She showed me there were two important things in a day to never miss, a story and the weather. (She always watched Days of Our Lives, and the local weather report) She taught me to never place my pocketbook (cause that’s truly what you call them) on the ground, but always in your lap. She taught me to enjoy the sweetness of life, eventhough you might be diabetic. She showed me that true love is loving someone even after they are gone. She exhibited that love is loving a child when it’s not your blood. She taught me fresh fruit is the best fruit, and even better when you grow it yourself. She taught me sisterly bonds are never broken, regardless of how old you are.

Most of all, she taught me God loves me more than a grandparent could, more than a parent could, and that kind of love is the best thing for a person to know and to show. That is a treasure that won’t fade away with time.

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