Blanche, my mother, gave everything to raising me and her extended family. As I watched Glenda with our granddaughter recently, I could not help but notice the infinite patience and the ability to give of one's self that I know my mother also had in abundance. I know Glenda would choose to buy sandals for her granddaughter before buying shoes for her own feet. That devotion to others she demonstrates sometimes amazes me almost as much as how she can work herself to exhaustion if given an opportunity.
I think what amazes me most is that spurt of energy that these ladies demonstrate when the day is over for most of us. I can remember my mother just getting up a good head of steam cleaning at nine or ten PM when the rest of us were thinking about bed. I saw the same thing in Glenda when we had company recently. Just as everyone was getting tucked into bed, she was straightening up all the clutter from the day while I could barely manage to make the coffee. I am happy to report that our daughter, Erin, seemed to step in while she was visiting and do the final cleaning of the day so Glenda could spend more of her time with our granddaughter. Unfortunately I do not think I can step up and replace her.
As I see these ladies working tirelessly I cannot help but think of all the times that my mother took me fishing. The picture at the top of the post was taken the only time that I can ever remember her actually fishing. We were at a stocked trout pond in Meadows of Dan, Virginia. The gentleman in the picture was the owner of the pond and I can remember driving us there. Still I cannot count the times that she took my friend Mike and I fishing before I could drive myself.
We must have worried her to death begging to go fishing. Yet she would finish a days work, take us fishing, come home, fix some dinner, and then start cleaning for the next day. She would do it all without any complaints.
I always knew that she worked hard, but only as I have worked alongside Glenda over the years have I come to appreciate the many things that get done in a household without most folks noticing. Those clean towels that appear magically after I have had the third shower during the day do not get washed and dried by the laundry fairy.
Then as Glenda and I worked together to feed and entertain a house full of people during the last ten days, it amazes me to look back at how my mother managed to accomplish the same thing when she was well into her eighties.
All those times when we came home while raising our own family, we could forget about meals and clean towels during our visits. Having even a few less things to worry about while at home with your parents is a treat that I miss a lot.
As I try to scroll back through my memories to savor all those visits, I wonder if we will be able to do the same thing for our children twenty years from now. Mother stayed healthy by working in her gardens for years. My gardens are smaller, but maybe if I do a few miles with the kayak each week and Glenda keeps up her activities, we can stay active enough to host "our children" when we are in our eighties.
Based on the recovery time for this last visit with our granddaughter, I am guessing if we age another twenty years, we would only be able to take visitors about once every three or four months.