Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Joy and a Chore

This week was a rigorous whirlwind of activities which included, but were not limited to, ripping out and dragging away poopy old carpet, keeping little feet from stepping on exposed tack strips, and climbing over all the furniture which was moved to the kitchen.

Getting new carpet is a dream come true, even as it is a nightmare.

While we watched for the bus the other morning and I kept Jack from menacing the myriad tools which littered the floor, the carpet installer watched Jack with curiosity. He spoke to Jack respectfully and asked me where he went to school. After Jack left, the carpet man went to his truck and then handed me a laminated obituary of a lovely woman with special needs who had passed away a couple of years ago in her early fifties.

"That's my little sister," he said. And I began to read.

The summary of this woman's life was clearly written by someone who knew her well, and loved everything about her. Some of my favorite points: she loved Big Red gum, Pepsi, going out to dinner, singing duets with her brother (our carpet guy), and shopping at the dollar store. She had more friends than anyone else in her family, was greeted with fondness by practically everyone, and always had to have two dollars in her purse at any given time.

This woman, her likes and her personality, gleamed from the laminated newsprint. I didn't even know her, but I already liked her.

Later that morning, Truman and I took a walk. He enjoyed the scenery and I pondered the carpet man's sister and her humble list of simple pleasures.

We passed Henry's school where the sixth-graders were wrapping up recess. I tried to casually pick my kid out of the sea of navy and red polo shirts, just wanting a peek of my eldest in his element. Just before I rounded the bend in the path, half of the sixth grade spotted and recognized me, yelling, "Hi Henry's mom!" Henry gave me a wave and a "Hi Mom!"

I decided that that moment was worthy of a laminated obituary. My simple pleasure: being known as my kid's mom, by a happy crowd of sixth graders.

Before the walk and my celebrity moment by the school, when I finished reading that obituary I thanked the carpet man for sharing it with me and handed it back to him. He said, "You know, you understand. She was a joy.......and a chore."

I solemnly nodded my agreement at this person who, in one brief sentence, encapsulated so perfectly the nature of life with a special family member.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful. What a gift. . . these moments of connecting with near-strangers. But neighbors. Really lovely essay, Megan