Thursday, April 14, 2016

Good Daughters - From the Archives

First published August 30, 2010

They were out in full force, today, the good daughters (and a few sons). G'ma's pod-castle is one of several on a piece of former scrub land which is now labeled a Village. It's always seemed as if that were over-stating the case; there wasn't as much activity as the word village conjures up for me. But today, for some reason, the inter-connected parking lots and the walkways around the individual pod-castles were humming with activity. There was actually traffic in the round-about - a first in the 13 months I've been visiting G'ma there.

A woman my age was holding hands with an older woman as they made their way from a parked car to the front courtyard of G'ma's building. There was an equal measure of physical and emotional support in their grip. The emotions were going both ways. I imagined the same scene 60 years earlier. The balance of power and cognition and responsibility, though radically different, held the same sense of responsibility toward the one needing care.

Mom and daughter.... then and now.

The van owned by the pod-castle was disgorging passengers.  Others waited to load themselves, wheeling or rolling or shuffling up the ramp, on their way to the doctor or the hairdresser. "Look at everyone. Where are they all going?" I didn't know and didn't care because I was delighted with the fact that G'ma was paying attention to the world around her, and that her immediate little piece of that world was a-bustle.

Sometimes it feels as if I am entering the Village of Waiting Around for Something to Happen. Today, it looked like my ship (or van, in this case) had actually come in.

The hand-holding couple were seated at G'ma's table for lunch. Their daughter and I shook hands, sharing a glance that was more than just "Hi, nice to meet you." Our parents are living in the same small pod-castle, we visit but we don't bring them home, we are doing our best and it make us kind of sad.  All of that was the answer when G'ma asked, "Who was that?"

She and I took off for salad and pizza. The good daughters were there, too. We weren't the only older ladies lunching with their girls. There were a few of us scattered around the restaurant, sipping our drinks and chatting about nothing or something and it didn't matter because the event was more important than the content of the conversation. G'ma noted the tall daughters and their even taller mothers and we judged and chewed and sipped our passion fruit ice tea and I was happy.

A 20-something and her mom held the door for us as we left, I shlepping my purse and left-over pizza and half-finished ice tea and trying to get G'ma and her walker safely over the slightly raised door-jamb. They held it without expectation, continuing their conversation as we made our painfully slow way through the portal.

 It was perfect - we felt no pressure and I didn't need to grow a third or fourth arm. We four laughed as the door closed gently behind me, basking in the experience of dining with the women with whom we'd shared a womb... outside or in, able bodied or leaning on a red rolling walker, grey haired or still sporting dark brown locks.  We were women enjoying each other's company, and that was enough right then.

There are times when being a good daughter is as easy as pie.

Lemon meringue, please. It was G'ma's favorite.

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