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parenting our parents

Last night I was reading to her from the Bible. I kept saying Genesis, because we were reading the creation story....and she kept cracking up like crazy. Her laughter is deep and contagious.

 

me: "what's so funny?"

mom: "Sounds like you're saying "Jonatha"".... so we spent the better part of an hour coming up with names for new books in the Bible. lst Jonatha followed ll Corinthians, then the book of "Stone" (my mother's maiden and pen name) following Phillipians... "whatesoever is good"

mom: laughing and laughing....

 

I treasure these moments. Then, she reaches for my arm sometimes when she's confused or in pain. And I know, in this new territory, unconditional love. There is no greater feeling than our silent bond. That current of "I am here for you, no matter what."

 

I may have shared this poem before, but it's one of my favorite mom poems. When I was in Boston recently I drove by my grandmother's house. I would spend a day every week with her, cleaning, grocery shopping, having lunch or just sitting on her beloved screened in porch with the flag stone floor....she could tell me about every bird that came to her feeder. Her name was Amelia Behrhorst Stone.

 

Order in my mother's house

 

Alone at eighty-three my mother set her table

twice a week for company, walked out a daily mile

and kept in touch with friends and family by phone.

Each time I visited she took me on a tour around

the rooms naming the treasures and their origins

as if they were celebrities; Seth Thomas clock, brass

candlesticks, a walnut table, Queen Anne chairs,

the Hummel artifacts, fifteen Italian plates. I hardly

played them well, those scenes rehearsing ordered

history; I was polite but most impatient to be gone.

 

Now in these rooms without her voice, in silence I

sit wondering how this has come about so suddenly.

Lighting a candle I detect dust on our portraits, find

a cloth and wipe them clean along with bookends,

grandma's desk, a doll. Then all at once the continuity

that gave my mother joy seems irresistible; I yearn

to hear her say "Before you leave, there's one more

thing I want to show you dear."

 

The tears fall out of order in my mother's house.

 

Darren Stone

archive

LONDON! and ROXANNA DJALILI
    posted 2019-07-10

TWILIGHT
    posted 2019-04-29

I Love the Dentist
    posted 2018-11-06

Balloon Girl
    posted 2018-10-08

West Coast Journal
    posted 2017-10-24

Home Stretch
    posted 2017-06-07

Hashtag Kitchen
    posted 2017-03-09

This very old house
    posted 2016-12-13

The Big Move
    posted 2016-12-01

Songwriting in Tuscany
    posted 2016-10-25


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