When I look back on people who impacted my life, there's a long list. Teachers, friends, mentors, family; they each played a part at varying ages and in varying roles. Mrs. Jackson was one of these people. She was the mother of my childhood best friend and if you know anything about teenage girls, you know that having a best friend requires spending every moment humanly possible together. As a result, I became grafted into this family and found myself one of Mrs. Jackson's adopted children. It was a key relationship for me, this adult who looked and sounded like a mom but often spoke to me like a friend. Being a teenage girl is a miserable experience but her love softened the blow.
Now, if there was one thing you wanted to know about Mrs. Jackson, it was that she kept a clean house. It never occurred to me that people would vacuum their carpet every day. Or better yet, that you could vacuum formal areas in a manner that left a fancy diagonal pattern in the fibers. If I was going to earn my keep for those countless hours spent in her home, I was going to have to chip in. And when my friend and I would divvy out chores to do before Mrs. Jackson came home from work, I always picked vacuuming.
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Mrs. Jackson didn't get to see me grow up; we lost her to cancer a decade ago. I think she would be pretty happy about how I turned out, though. I also think she would find it quite funny to learn I work for a vacuum store. Clearly, she made an impact on my life in more than one way and every now and then, I leave a pattern in the carpet for her.