Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Perils Of

Mama and me when I was very small.
I've always been somewhat of a loner. I didn't mind being alone as a child; I preferred my time in the woods and meadows or the banks of the brook to being in a group of kids. I had siblings and friends and had fun with them but the urge to be by myself, often and unapologetically, was strong.

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.


Brian Miller said...

i hear you....even now i miss those sick days sitting in bed and being taken care of...i do get it occassionally from my wife...ha...but i hear you....

Kerry said...

Oh dear. Keep conjuring those warm memories, and have some lemon tea. Curl up with a book. Feel well soon.

Diane said...

Feel better soon!! That's a lovely photo, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Pauline, this is so beautiful, and I'm so sorry you're sick! I've always been this kind of loner, too, but I agree there are times when it's nice to have someone around. I hope you get better soon!

Maggid said...

I like your writing.
I am glad you had a loving mother.

Hilary said...

I remember the "get well" foods also. :)

Poor you. I hope you're on the mend very soon.

Your mother was lovely.

Pauline said...

Brian - I suppose as one ages, the yearning for good things from the past increases. I still miss my mother and she's been gone thirty years!

Kerry - only the passage of time, that and medication, help. I'm looking forward to resting up a bit on the west coast soon. My sisters will take good care of me :)

Thanks, Diane. She was a lovely woman through and through.

Barbara - I thought I recognized a kindred spirit :)

Thanks Maggid - I was, and still am, a lucky girl.

Hilary - she was a wonderful example to follow. Time and meds are working their wonders :)

Judith said...

Bittersweet. But beautiful.