The woman behind the counter smiled and I pointed to my coat from the rack behind the desk. The unseasonably cool, and foggy, weather had necessitated a coat on an early May day that should have been warm and sunny, as my footwear indicated: flip flops and freshly manicured feet. She held my coat as I slid in and then, rather than let go, she smoothed the arms, pulled the front together and said, "it's cold out, let me help you", as she buttoned the three buttons on the front of my coat.
An intimate gesture from the woman who owned the nail salon, someone I had known for several years but whose name I had never taken the time to learn.
"Thank you, that was so nice", I stumbled. I pay people to rub my feet and massage my shoulders but this simple gratuitous act knocked me, so briefly, out of the role I have been cultivating for seven years.
Walking back to the train, snugly buttoned in my old trench coat, I realized that it had been a very long time since I had been on the receiving end of the calm and nurturing act of mothering.
Somewhere along the way I have switched from being the button'ee to the button'er.
Happy Mother's Day to all, especially the nice woman at the nail salon who, in three buttons, took me back to a place I had not been in years, and reminded me just how good it feels to let someone else button your coat.