The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Old Ladies

A friend recently mentioned how grateful she was her husband enjoys the company of old women.

That pleases my friend because her own aging mother depends upon their company for her well being.

My friend is an only child and her mother's sole link to the greater world. My friend and her husband include her mother on outings and have her over for dinner often.

I wondered how her husband came to be that way. We both know men who don't enjoy the company of their mothers-in-law, or aging women in general including, in some cases, their own mothers.

She congratulates her husband's mother and grandmother for his unique trait. She said they had taught him to play bridge and included him in games with their "old lady" friends.

Friendships developed across the card table and my friend's husband became accustomed to the idiosyncrasies of aging -- stooped shoulders, thin voices, and the wobbly red line where lipstick should be. He's not discomforted either when discussions turn from politics to dead husbands, ailing hearts or children and grandchildren who don't stay in touch. He understands older women and they appreciate him for that. He still plays bridge with his mother.

I wonder if my two sons will grow up enjoying the company of old ladies. It would be sad if they didn't. I'd be sorry if they missed knowing up-close the wisdom and gentleness that resides in a matriarch's heart.

What am I doing then to encourage relationships beyond the obligatory kiss when Grandma arrives for a visit? My mother lives on the other side of the country so her visits are rare. And when she does visit I use up most of her time. I miss her and want to catch up. But I also deliberately stand as a barrier between my mother and my sons.

I do that partly to protect her from their rambunctiousness -- my mother is easily stressed these days. But I'm also protecting them from my mother's increasing physical and mental frailties, changes brought on by aging and ill health.

Maybe I shouldn't protect them. Maybe I should allow them near even though on occasion she sees things that aren't there. Maybe I should let them learn, as I have learned, to soothe her when her voice rises in panic over some imagined threat. Moments like these don't prevent my enjoying other times with my mother -- attending a movie up for best picture or sharing dinner at a great new restaurant.

They don't have to prevent my sons from enjoying their grandmother, as well.
My own grandmother had grown quite frail the last time we saw her. At 91, her appearance frightened my seven-year-old son so I kept them apart. I think now I shouldn't have done that. I should have let her approach him and allow him to see up close what an old lady looks like.

Maybe he would have gotten used to the look of her bony fingers and hands. Maybe then he would have noticed instead the smile that always lit her face whenever her grandchildren and great grandchildren gathered around.

Maybe he would have missed her more when she died a few weeks later.

By Laura-Lynne Powell


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Wow,that was powerful. It brought tears to my eyes, warmed my heart, and inspired me -- all at the same time.
what a wonderful reflection on an overlooked reality in all our lives, the largest of generation gaps as a loved one nears a journey that we can't yet share
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