While I was sitting here drinking coffee
In the silent stillness and stifling solitude
Of my writing space
My mind drifted lazily
To when I was a young woman
And my two oldest kids were still my kids
The time of two cats in the yard
Where everything was loud and noisy
Gritty and grating at times.
I was obsessed
With cleaning up my messy life
Which was actually
A deliciously divine messy life
But I didn’t know it at the time.
Back then I believed
My messy life wasn’t good
And certainly not
It didn’t fit
Into the glossy pages
Of a coffee-table magazine
I would never ever be
Wife or mother of the year
But oh how I longed
For that impossible
It’s laughable now
That this messiness was a problem
This glorious domestic chaos
And magnificent uproarious thunder
Racket and tumult
This callow tender tackiness
Of everyday life
Was something to be fixed.
Ma stood in the driveway waiting for her sister Hazel to come and pick her up to go shopping at Intercity. I sat in the orange plaid swivel rocker and watched her from the living room window.
The sky was clear and blue and the snow was crisp and clean. The snow banks were so high on either side of the driveway entrance that they dwarfed Ma’s already small frame. She was wearing her gray fake fur coat. I don’t know what animal it was imitating. Her purse was draped across her chest. She wasn’t wearing a hat.
While she was waiting, she traced the snow in an arc with the toe of her boot. Like a windshield wiper. Back and forth. Every now and then she would pause and look down the street for my Auntie Hazel’s car.
Her cheeks were blushed red from the cold air and her dark eyes were so bright and alive. I had to remind myself that she was well into her seventies.
I will always remember her that way. The image of her at the end of the driveway, with the winter sun shining its pure radiant light on that particular spot, in that particular solitary moment, and on that particular woman, just for me to see. To bear witness.
And in that sacred, intimate and private moment, my heart was overflowing with tenderness. And love.