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...Began with Tears
It was more like just one tear, but it was substantial as it made its way across my temple/cheekbone, since I was prone. My skin, in its trail, felt cold. I resisted wiping it away. I let it run its course.
I was thinking of having seen my mom last night and how increasingly, visibly painful her mobility is. Charlotte, from Charlotte's Web, comes to mind more and more when I visit my mother.
God willing, my mother will live for many more years and ideally, not with too much pain, but however long we've got with her, she is definitely slowing down, like the spider did. My third grade teacher read us that story aloud and it was among the only times I ever felt anything other than an impatient temper from that teacher. "Don't make me use my hairbrush!" she'd address the class, and of course, never did. What a sick threat, though. I imagined that she'd hit us with it, with the bristle-side slapping our skin.
Charlotte's Web, then, is not a purely heart-warming/breaking story for me, as it's laden with my otherwise, mostly unhappy memory of 3rd Grade.
You Have to Go Home Again
Back to my mother: I'm not purely, positively nostalgic about my mom either, but I adore her. Last night, upon grocery-shopping for her after work:
"Mom, I don't buy house-brands for Pat and me. We're lucky that we don't need to economize to that extent."
"Your cousin Billy told me that pantyhose at Orbach's was actually Hanes."
"How would he know that?"
"What do you mean, 'How would he know that?' He was in the industry. Did you take Economics in college?"
"Well, there are 'monopolistic...' [I can't recall the full term she referred to] and 'product differentiation.' Often, you're just paying for their advertising when you buy brand-names. And you're probably really strict about codes on food, too."
"Yeah, I'd never eat anything past the expiration-date."
"I just freeze it and it's fine. Sarah, you think I'd want to eat garbage?"
"Well, since you asked, I know times were tight during the recession [in the '70s], but I really hated drinking powdered milk."
"We didn't drink it because it was cheap. We drank it because it was skim-milk. I always breast-fed my babies on skim-milk because I didn't want them to have the fat-cells."
"Well, you never mixed it properly and it was always clumpy and watery."
Saying Goodbye and Shabbat Shalom
All day at work yesterday, I looked forward to seeing my mom as a celebration or consolation at the end of the day; we had a checkpoint review for a big project at work yesterday at 4 pm. Fortunately, it was a celebration.
Driving to her house, I thought, I'm so tired from the heavy work-week and I wish I could just put my head in my mom's lap and rest. And that's probably where the trailing-tear came from this morning, thinking about my mom's deceleration and how great it felt to fulfill my own wish before leaving last night.
I emptied my mom's groceries and helped her into her house. She needed to rest on the steps inside. I sat one step down from my mom and told her what I'd been wishing for all day and then went ahead and put my right ear and right temple and right cheek on her lap. She rubbed my back in a circular motion that felt like an ancient memory -- and she confirmed that she used to do that for me when I was a baby.