“I never realized” is a phrase I’ve noticed lately tangled up in my fog. Brain fog, specifically. It catches because it’s meant to give me pause. Either that, or I have really dense fog. But, we won’t dally THERE (thank you, kindly).
What started out yesterday as this…..
ended with this…
and this (and was one of the richest, most enjoyable and remarkable days I’ve had in a very long time).
I’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do.
Where mom now lives in Independent Living, yesterday was the holiday bazaar. As she did last year, mom had a table where she sold the knitted items she’s been crafting all year: scarf and hat sets, single scarves, and coffee sleeves. Get a load of some of “Maggie’s Creations!”
What mom didn’t know was that I’d invited a mystery guest. I’d told no one, not my wonderful mother, my beautiful daughter Kelsey (up there in the blue sweater), or my fabulous sister Lynne, who found out early that morning. It’s sort of hard to keep things from a sister…
See that beautiful redhead up there? That’s Lisa, and I’ve known her since we were in diapers. And that gorgeous blond? That’s Cherie, we met when we were seven. We all grew up together, but as life happens, none of us had seen Lisa for a very long time.
Here we are, a few of us in high school, gathered at Kay’s house. From top to bottom, left to right, Cherie, Becky (my cousin) and Kay, Denise, Lisa, and I formed a silly pyramid. (Look at all that hair!)
What I found deeply enriching yesterday was this gathering of old friends and new, spread across three generations, with oodles of laughter, learning, sharing, and love. I was mesmerized but it’s hardly knew to mom.
She attends Heavy Metal Knitting each Friday at her beloved coffee shop in Gladstone. It’s exactly what that says: a very diverse (and awesome) group of men and women who gather weekly at the Happyrock Roastery to knit, all the while listening to heavy metal (and of course to sip owner Lisa’s delicious coffee–different Lisa). No kidding, and my mother loves it.
After watching mom settle into her new life in Independent Living, I firmly believe it’s the mix of people, the young and old, the diversity, that is keeping her young. She will be 87 next week, and as hard as that is to imagine, she’s going strong. Her needles are a ‘clickin’.
I think we need each other, the young and old. We learn from each other, that is if we are open to new ideas, older ways of thinking…or older ideas and new ways of thinking.
Here’s what happened as the day progressed:
I watched my mom talk with two of the finest friends a girl could ever ask for. Mom gave bits of history about how our families met in the early days; some was news to Lisa. It warmed my heart.
My daughter was willing to be silly for a while and pose with Pierre, our model and long time family member. (Pierre attends weddings.)
Intense conversation was happenin.’ (Cherie, what were we talking about?)
I watched my mother light up. Not only did the mystery guest warm her heart, but two of mom’s heavy metal friends–JJ and Bo–showed up, both of whom I’d never met. Bo hung around, talked with us, stayed to listen and absorb. Mom’s reading buddy Harriet returned, joined us at my beckoning, and was thrilled to be part of this fun, maybe-a-bit-too-loud, but warm/fuzzy group, even for a while. Harriet called my generation “kids.” Harriet is welcome ANY TIME.
It was enriching. It was absorbing. It was powerful. It filled me up.
And, I just hadn’t realized.
I underestimated the power of these gatherings, the generations of richness. We had not seen Lisa for over 20 years, but we picked up where we left off. How does this happen? How? I don’t fully know, but I’m not about to change it; instead, I want to feed it. I am drawn to anything that creates a sense of community–be it heavy metal knitting or underwater yoga.
Mom called this morning to thank me for yesterday, for her mystery guest, and I realized its power. Mom’s group of friends, whether old friends or new, whether young or more mature (ahem!), her amiga network, it buoys her each week. They are vital to her well-being. It’s amiga power at its finest.
The net started many years ago; as mentioned, some of us were in diapers. The year was 1961, and our two families lived across the street from each other. My photographer father, doing his usual, captured some of the early moments. Here are mom and Jean, Lisa’s mother.
Lynne (left), me (standing), and Lisa (right), at lake’s edge.
Jean, me, Lynne, Roger (Lisa’s dad), and Lisa are enjoying the day.
The fog has thinned.