Saturday Afternoon with Loveseats

There is a saying hanging on the wall in my kitchen that just about sums up my thoughts on the meaning of life...

"There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other's cooking and say it was good."

Today four sweet pranksters came to help me pick up a sofa I'd purchased.  They wouldn't let me pay for gas, even though it was a 60 mile round trip. The blew me off every time I tried to thank them for taking their entire Saturday afternoon to help me.  They cut up and carried on the entire way there and back.  They sat on every sofa and chair in the store, made faces, snort-laughed and chased each other like ten year olds.

We laughed the whole way to Winston Salem and back. But more than anything- they made me feel so lucky and loved.

What more can we ever ask for in life than to know what it is to love and be loved?

Lucky, lucky me.


Tuesdays at the Nursing Home

I'm on the locked Alzheimer's Unit this afternoon when an attractive, petite woman walks up to me. "Tell me," she says, "what's missing on me?"

I look at her carefully. I'm weighing this question, giving it serious consideration even though I know she's got dementia. I study her, take in the bright green peasant top and jeans, the chic haircut.

"I don't know," I say finally, "but I love your hair."

She screws up her face and I realize she has no teeth.

"No, what?" she says. "What did you say? I can't hear you. Look at me. What am I missing?"

"Your teeth?" I ask, completely forgetting for the moment that she has dementia. "Did you forget to put in your teeth?"

She shakes her head.  "No, I don't think so.  Something's missing on me. What is it?"

The symbolism of the moment is completely lost on me as I struggle to answer.

"I don't think you're missing a thing," I tell her.

She shakes her head and leaves me to wander up to the next person.  "Come on," I hear her say, "what's missing on me?"

I spend the next hour sitting with a woman who's new to the unit.  She's driving the staff nuts because she keeps asking for her daughter, sure her girl's disappeared and needs her.

"Please, please stick with me," she begs.  "Please help me find my daughter. She wouldn't just go off and leave like this."

I soothe.  I lie. I tell the truth. And nothing helps. Nothing matters. Thirty seconds later she clutches my hand, her eyes filling with tears. "Please help me find her," she pleads. "I'm so lonely here."

I hate broken heart Tuesdays.


This weekend I accompanied the Youngest and his girl on their move to New York City- the land of Law and Order's crimes against humanity and Midnight Cowboys.  I know...and Breakfast at Tiffany's and a host of other wonderful places and people...but this is my baby we're talking about.  I wasn't just watching him leave the nest to fly gracefully around the tree...he did that in college. Now he's soaring like a hummingbird heading to South America for the winter of my discontentedly anxious, watching-from-afar, ever-changing motherhood.  And as I must realize, over and over again, he will be fine because he is one of the most competent, savvy human beings I know.

So, his place wasn't surrounded by junkies and homeless people. It was even better than my first apartment in Philly.  A colorful fruit and flower stand marks the corner where he now lives.  We set his belongings out onto the sidewalk and no one rushed up to steal them. A couple pushing a stroller did stop but only to argue about the state of their relationship.

"No," she said, stopping to face her young husband. "I want to talk about this...You always brush it off but this time we're going to talk it out."  I carry a box into the building and return to hear her say, "Fine then, I'll just call a lawyer! Is that what you want?"

By the time I came back for the next box, they were gone.

The neighbor across the hall had to open his apartment so we could get the new, not huge couch into the boy's studio loft.  It's that small but cozy and inviting, with a lovely view.

My brother's family came up, seasoned New York visitors and residents.  My brother and I spent the day making up the backstories of every interesting person we saw, including their current dilemmas and hopes for the future...The biker bouncer with the long beard stuck guarding a Porky the Pig-esque figure outside the bar. He makes no secret of his disgust for the Pig but like people and their dogs, he favors the porcine mascot.  His wife taunts him about this late at night when he comes home drunk and wakes her up. She once told him his performance and accompanying body parts made it difficult for her to tell him apart from the fiberglass oinker.

Two transvestites worked the corner, their feet swollen and painful from the unaccustomed height of their new heels.  "You know, Nance, it only takes one minute and 32 seconds to be in agony in heels that high."

"You should buy better shoes, John," I tell him.