My mom and I trying on the nun costumes for Front Porch Arts production of the “Three Musketeers” last year.

The other day I walked by a thrift store and started to cry. Grief is like that. One minute you’re looking for your car keys and the next your digging around for a Kleenex. It was the thrift store my mom and I loved going to.

“Send me your list!” she’d always exclaim right after I told her what show I was working on. For her, the hunt was on and the more whacky the costume piece or long the list, the better. (“Mom, I’m looking for a pink wool coat.” “Matching hat too?” she’d ask.) She loved a good challenge.

Before she struggled with falls and dementia, she’d tool around to all her favorite stores on her own. After she stopped driving, I’d drive her. We’d wander for hours and accumulate things that neither of us really needed, but for various reasons, we liked. And we’d get costume pieces of course, and I’d modify my designs on the fly based on my mother’s exclamations about how “fabulous” this or that was.

Our last outing together was to a fabric store where I needed like a half a yard of something to complete a costume; I don’t even remember what costume now. But what I do remember about that outing, is that my mother convinced me to buy yards of teal fabric for my bathroom. “Amanda, it is perfect, get it all.” And I did. That was February, and in March, my mom died.

I miss her. And I miss costume shopping. I miss going in to thrift stores and roaming aimlessly around. I miss making lists and running around on deadlines. I miss the theater and all my friends. Life is like that. Sometimes we don’t realize just how precious all those moments are until we’re standing on the sidewalk, tears streaming down our cheeks, digging around for a Kleenex in front of a thrift store.