Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I don't say that about her just because she's my Mom and I love her. I mean, just look at what she's doing in this picture. Pruning! When she comes to visit she doesn't expect to be waited on or entertained. She pitches in and is part of the household. She helps cook, cleanup, and put dishes away.
The last time she visited she dusted bookshelves, cleaned photo frames (and we have lots of those), and together we cleaned windows. Windows! They haven't been cleaned since except to get rid of a dead fly that got smacked against one. Yes, yes, I'm a lousy housekeeper, I confess. Well, I did actually clean the kitchen windows once to honor her, just kindling that memory. But Mom isn't amazing because she does those things. Let me recount her itinerary since she left home on April 9.
She generally spends a month at Melrose in the spring, so heading off there wasn't unusual. But she left a week earlier than is typical so that she could welcome her sister-in-law, nephew Ross and his family to Melrose. Ross and his brother own the other half of the original parcel that makes up Melrose. They came from California during school vacation.
Then we arrived for the wedding and were there nearly two weeks. While we were there not only did Mom help us pull together the last bits and pieces for the rehearsal dinner, she also hosted visits from some other kin and kin-types. Like her second cousin, Prudy, who I only met for the first time a little over a year ago (and at Prudy's initiative--do I not have great family?). Prudy was down at Edisto, on the SC coast and took back roads to get to us for a leisurely lunch before heading home to Spartanburg. We had a great visit. And then there was Mary Jane and her son Matt. Mary Jane was married to our step-cousin. Her son was on an orienteering adventure in a state park "in the neighborhood," so they came by for a visit. They live in Atlanta. We tried to work in a visit with our cousin's other ex-wife, but the timing just didn't work out.
Is a picture emerging? She left Melrose last Friday and came here, and while here we visited cousins who live in Nashville. When she left here yesterday she was making a stop in Lexington, KY, to have lunch with a friend. I can't remember if Marie is a friend from college, graduate school, or another part of Mom's life. Her destination last night Was Cincinnati, where is she staying with my aunt, her former sister-in-law. While in Cincinnati she's meeting up with someone she knows there for lunch, another cousin's wife for dinner, my cousins, and I've lost track of who else. From Cincinnati she goes to Oberlin for a college reunion. I've lost track of how many people she's visiting with beyond reunion events. Then on to Meadville, PA, to visit her former step-son and his family. Then. Finally. Home to Connecticut. And she's driving. By herself. At the age of 82. By the time she gets home she will have traveled over 2500 miles.
She wears me out!
But she doesn't just visit and maintain relationships. When she was the CEO of agencies where she worked she would bake brownies to take to committee and board meetings. She pitches in to help in whatever way she can when someone moves. She planted flowers for my sister-in-law's sister-in-law when Amy moved into a new house. She arranges flowers for the mantle of her Friend's Meeting. She has a subscription to a Manhattan theater group. She's in a book club. She is always doing, and often for others.
And she listens. Not only does she listen but she offers compassionate counsel woven with insight and wisdom. And love. Lots of love.
I could go on. And on. But you have other things to do today. I just thought I'd share some of what's in my heart this morning as I look at this picture from the other day. Blessings on yours.