I wrote the post about my hair yesterday (thank you, thank you, thank you for all of the wonderful, supportive comments. I read them slowly this morning before I started to write and appreciate every one!) and then left for the entire day to take my mother up north to the town where she grew up, Paul Smiths NY; a town in the Adirondack park with only one street; “Easy Street”. That part of New York State is almost like entering another world. Everything seems stark somehow; beautiful, rough, certainly not easy.
We have taken this trip several times in my mother’s life. The last time was a few years ago when my mother and I were really not getting along. I returned home, feeling like I had been raked over the coals….maybe she felt that way too. It seemed we were fighting each other; me asking questions, trying to figure out some of my own history, and her wanting to make me see things her way. Yesterday, she wanted me to drive and she wanted to direct the day. She just wanted to be “heard” as she recalled being a little girl, playing with friends, working, moving from house to house in this remote, wild place. Her parents didn’t own their own home until my mother was older. They were hard-working and poor.
We slowly made our way past the old homes, many of which were still standing. Some had been “remodeled” (very little “restoring” going on this far north) with vinyl siding and windows, some were left to slowly decay. I was content to be in a “supportive role”. I let her be the director, set the pace, turn any place that she wanted, stop or not. I liked this feeling. It is relatively new for me to suspend my own curiosity, questions, and interests, for a day and to try to see the world from my mother’s perspective. I learned that she was almost going to name my sister Anne, Victoria. That she had wanted to go in the army, as a nurse, and my grandfather would not let her….little stories.
Yesterday was a good day for me, and for my mother. When she initially asked me to take her, I didn’t have to think about it, I just knew that it was the right timing. If I hadn’t felt this way, I would not have gone. I’ve finally learned that if I am not feeling good about “helping” someone, then it will not turn out well. I’ll exhaust myself and they won’t get a lot out of it either. There is a flow to life that pulls us in, and sustains us, when we trust and go with it.