Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Picture of a Mother and Son

I was pulling out of the supermarket today when I paused in the parking lot to let two people traverse the cross walk. An elderly woman and the man I imagined to be her mentally disabled son plodded toward the store front, their pace naturally matched. He was large, she was small; they were both bent-shouldered over a shopping cart. One of the man's beefy hands joined his mother's on the cart while the other rested on her back.

As I waited, I saw a lifetime of care make its slow way across the asphalt. Though it's hard to tell from a simple scene played out in front of Stop & Shop, I couldn't help but think that the woman's steps were buoyed by a constant source of comfort not available to parents whose children grow up and move out. Maybe she had spent all her years as a grown woman caring for this son with special needs. Maybe, with ninety years rendering her own needs more specialized, the tables were not so much turning as being pushed closer together. But there were no maybes in their familiarity. They were bundled up against the 12 degree temperatures in layers of fleece and shared history. She looked like she might blow away without him. He looked like he might lose his way without her.

Then their walking huddle reached the sidewalk beneath the red and green sign. I put my foot lightly to the pedal and drove off.

13 comments:

mothergoosemouse said...

I love the table analogy. Beautiful and touching.

jen said...

the tables were not so much turning as being pushed closer together.

this is one of the single best sentences i have ever read. this post is incredible...and tearful.

Chris said...

Those two don't know how close they came to losing their lives by crossing the street with you behind the wheel. What a couple of risk takers.

bubandpie said...

Okay, so MGM and Jen stole my comment - tables being pushed closer together - such a moving and apt analogy.

T. said...

Best post yet.

But now I am a weeping mass of grieving snot.

What I would give to be that mother.

Thank you Binky, for painting such a beautiful picture for me. I *heart* you.

Lisa said...

You verbally paint a beautifully moving portrait.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Sigh. Lovely. Heartbreaking, but lovely.

Mary-LUE said...

Were you trying to make us all cry? Huh? 'Cuz, ya did. (Sniff, sniff)

Thailand Gal said...

This is a very good post and as someone who knows a woman who cares for a disabled adult son, it is very accurate. :)


Peace,

~Chani

Tater and Tot said...

Well done. Very well done.

Mommy off the Record said...

First time visitor here. This was a beautiful post. So glad I stopped by.

binkytown said...

Beautiful. So well said. I think those thoughts all the time, how do you quantify what goes into loving and caring for someone else? I don't know if you can but you gave it a voice.

Anonymous said...

Very touching and warmly expressed.
It is nice to know that there are people who still observe and learn from others in such a hurried life.