Life Lessons

The more I see, paint, experience, hurt, and laugh, the more I grow.  I embrace the difficult and painful because I now know they contain poignant lessons for me.  I celebrate each day with gusto and appreciation,  embracing the bad with bravado as I navigate the unknown waters.

Last week's visit with my mother ended in a lesson about love, caring, and the human touch - all experienced in a Springsteen sort of way.

Anyone who knows me well knows of my struggles with my parental units. Abuse. Alcoholism. Mental illness.  The culmination of a lifetime of hard work and therapy brings Acceptance, and with acceptance comes love. Or,  perhaps it is the other way around.

.....I braved traffic and lines to get my mom a bagel stick stuffed with lox cream cheese.  I had forgotten it was the day of Kingston's St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the roads and plaza were packed with the traffic from floats and people.  As I crawled along I wondered if I should have not bothered.  Besides, she would not know what she was missing if I just showed up with the flowers.

But something told me to forget about time and the crowds, and pick it up for her.  I figured it must get pretty boring eating all that nursing home food. 

She was thrilled that I was there, and seemed not to care that I had not visited in a month and was joyful that I was there now.  I handed her the bagel stick, and her eyes opened wide.  In spite of missing teeth- the bridge is just too painful, she enjoyed each bite with gusto and delight.  

I set the flowers in a vase by the window. Pink carnations, her favorite.  We spent an hour looking at magazines together, she occasionally handing me a catalog of furniture that she thought I'd like, a recipe. An article.  A photograph.

I went over to her nightstand to put on some hand lotion.  She tried to give it to me to take home.
I refused it.  But something made me stop. And something made me  wonder how long it had been since someone had touched her with love.

"Mom, give me your hands, I am going to give you a hand massage".  She leaned back on her pillow and closed her eyes, smiling as I massaged her hands, her arms.  I had never touched my mother like that before, and I told her how young and smooth her skin was.  She smiled, and through her missing teeth, I saw her heart.  Through her almost 80 years I still saw youth. Through the lips that cannot talk, I heard her whisper about love.

I stayed much longer than I usually do.  I was basking in a comfort that I had never felt before. 

And I was grateful for that Sunday morning, grateful that I didn't stay in bed, grateful for the trip to the Bagel Shop.  Most of all, grateful for that Sunday morning lesson of a lifetime.  A lesson of love.



Bellsys said…
Beautiful, Patty! I am so happy you are able to share these times with your mom. It is so challenging to be the child doing the caring, while still wanting to experience the nurturing by our parents. I hope you get to enjoy more time with her so both of you can experience the healing balm of each others presence (presents?). :)
gerald said…
Ah, very welcoming. And so wonderful that your mom was up to it... I read fearing your mom would be critical, complain, be ungrateful... but she was welcoming, gracious, rewarding. How very nice of you, how very very nice of her.
People who are willing to take are so necessary to people who are ready to give.
Wendy said…
very moving
Jane Schott said…
What a wonderful read spite of all the sadness you found this bright light. Really insightful.
tangled stitch said…
Blessings to you and your mom. It was wonderful to read your post of love about your mom.

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