The large boy behind her combs his hair like Justin Beiber, and he weighs at least 200 pounds. He stands very close behind the small elderly lady, he does not wish to move away from her. Then, beside him is his 13, 14 (?) year old brother and their 9 year old sister. The four of them crowd together at the reception desk, they have been here before. In a voice that sounds breathless I hear the elderly woman say “my daughter called and said I am at the hospital and they are admitting me!” The receptionist responds as if she knows this family and her response is warm and caring – as if she has heard the same news. Yes, yes, the children have a dental visit today and they will be taken care of.
Now I know why these huge man children crowd behind their very small grandmother, it is because this small woman represents their mother, whom everyone is quite concerned about because she is now in the hospital. As I watch the children lean in and speak to their grandmother, I am struck with the necessity for mothering throughout the times and the generations. As grandmother leans over to speak with the middle child, she says something like “hey, I never get to see you, come talk to me” – he leans towards her and takes his IPod ear gear off and smiles. “I know grandma” he says. From this interchange, I can tell that their coming together is quite unusual and it probably has something to do with mom / daughter being sick and in the hospital.
I know also, that something right has occurred here. These kids crowd in close to their grandmother, you can see that their stability is somehow streaming from her, through her, to them. You can also surmise that these children do not spend a lot of time with this small, beautiful, elderly woman – it is of no matter – because these kids feel completely safe and completely loved while they are in her company. This woman made a special daughter, who ultimately became a special mother, who could pass love on through generations.
So it is that two large and clumsy looking boys and a girl, follow a small elderly woman around very closely and absorb the love and stability of a generation removed – because it is a time of fear for their own mother. Myself a stranger – can see good work done – a very long time ago. Guess what? I do not pity myself anymore…