Tuesday, May 26, 2015

No One Else Would Do

She is the keeper.

Steady on her feet, practical.

          In every family there's one person who keeps everyone together.

And it's never the one who thinks she's the one. That one's the alpha. Sometimes there are two of those in a group, and they spend most of their time keeping one another busy with their alpha-ness. It's not them.

It's not the softie, the sentimental one either. That one's too drawn in one direction or another, depending on who needs the nurture in the moment. (Usually, one of the alphas.)

The artsy one? Nope. The nerd? No, not him. They're good in the group and serve their distinctive purposes, but they don't hold everyone together.

It's the other one. The one who intentionally flies just under the radar.

          And she knows it long before anyone else has a clue.

If she seems vulnerable, and she may at times, that frailty is fleeting and hardly the truth of her. She is strong and sincere because she knows herself, always has.

She demonstrate softness only when she's interested in showing it to you and most often not for herself, but to give you some sense of purpose. She is kind that way.

When you confide in her she is even-handed, matter-of-fact, and fair. If you are wrong she will tell you. If someone wrongs you, she will tell them too, first and without flinch. There is a force there better not to be reckoned with.

She intimates infrequently, as little as possible. Her messes are her own and she is satisfied in that.

A finer sister or friend you will not find. She is smart, as talented and lovely as all or more, a quick wit, a good sport, and all without flourish. No need. Let the others have the noise.

When the time comes and they have tired of stray and pomp, hers is the embrace that will bring comfort. It always does.

Now as she grows into the yearning years of her own dares and travels there may be times when all seem far and least connected. Then and again, the center is real and all will find their way home to her.

Because the keeper is she and she knows it. And good that it should be, as no one else would do.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Ladies

That lady in the thrift store who was buying all kids' clothes today because they're half-priced, whose husband was sighing and whining the whole time in line, whose kids were scrambling and climbing all over everything while she waited patiently for the overwhelmed cashier, who looked at the $2 vase she'd included in her cart - the only thing that could have been for her - and put it back, then carefully selected each dollar bill from her old-fashioned snap coin-purse to pay for her children's things, and smiled at her daughter and said 'Ahora tienes un vestido para manana!" (Now you have a dress for tomorrow!)

Happy Mother's Day to her.

That older lady in the grocery store, who stopped to smile at me and chat for a few moments, who does not have any children and told me sweetly she is a mother to two pets who've promised to be extra kind to her tomorrow, whose caregiver sends her (every year, she told me) Mother's Day cards signed by her pets.

Happy Mother's Day to her.

The woman whose got three children, a dog, a house, and a husband, who just took on a new job, one she didn't much want but one she knows will get her back in the game even if on the fringe, whose been wanting a job for a while, but now that it's real is probably spending a lot of time second-guessing the wisdom of turning her life upside down and worrying over how it will affect her kids, because every thought you have once you have children is accompanied with a thought about your kids.

Happy Mother's Day to her.

That woman who is adjusting to a life change that was unplanned, unwanted, and unfortunate, whose Mother's Day must naturally include moments of sadness in the years just after her mom has passed, but who senses her mother's hand in healing as certain turns, equally unplanned, are just what is needed, and who accepts that help with bittersweet.

Happy Mother's Day to her.

To those women who are graduating, and teaching, and driving, and carrying, and sweating, and barely holding on - and still find time to love someone - child or otherwise - and provide the nurture that's needed for the day.

Happy Mother's Day to them.

And that woman, harried and earnest, who's got too much on her plate because she just can't say 'no', who's making mistakes and dropping balls and forgetting to dot all kinds of i's, who is only home in fifteen minute increments lately, it seems, and then only to be mad about messes and to make lists of chores which, when done, she never fully appreciates, who infinitely - and more - loves her children with all her might, and yelled today and swore at them when, really, what she meant to say is "I couldn't live without you, wouldn't want to, wouldn't be anything if I didn't have you."

Happy Mother's Day to me.