|Mama and me when I was very small.|
I grew into the same kind of adult. Raising a family and working at various outside-the-home jobs demanded group effort and constant contact with others. Still, I always found some time in every day to be by myself. And now that my children are grown, my partners have all absconded, and I'm retired, I'm once again primarily a loner. The days of the week I am not with my grandchildren, I spend alone at my little cottage, reveling in the quiet and the unstructured hours. I am replenished by the days spent in my own company. Most of the time, that is. But oh! when I am ill, as I am now, sick with bronchitis, a sore throat, and a gut-wrenching cough, then, then it's no fun at all and I long for someone, anyone to be here to take care of me.
Mostly, I wish for my mother. I remember being tucked up into her big bed when, as a child, I would suffer some minor ailment - a cold, a bellyache, an ear infection. Propped high on several pillows, I could look out over the meadow toward the mountain from one window and to the road in front of the house through another. There would be a stack of books at my side and on the nightstand would be a tall, cold glass of ginger ale and small dish holding a wet cloth for my aching head. Mama would climb the stairs at intervals to check on me, smoothing my hair from my forehead or asking me what she could do to make me comfortable. Just her presence was enough to make me feel better. At mealtimes she'd prepare a tray with what I still think of as "get well" foods - poached eggs on toast, chicken noodle soup, boiled potatoes and butter mashed together with a fork. And tea - tea with lemon and honey for a cold, tea with ginger for a tummy upset, spicy cinnamon tea to help reduce a fever.
Now I must mother myself when I'm sick. I drag myself out of bed to boil water for my tea, lean on the counter for support while I wait for the toast to pop, lie back in my bed with a cold cloth I've had to wet and wring out myself. I think of Mama, ministering to me and for a moment, just a moment, I feel slightly better.