You didn’t have to be there…

May 23, 2009 § 6 Comments

We spent several hours helping our Mom decorate and detail her new apartment.  Suddenly, we all took to a comfortable chair.  Except the two youngest – Laylou and Irish. They were poking about in closets, rearranging baskets, sorting and finding important things like Mom’s cell phone charger and special pictures that Laylou began to set on tabletops in the different rooms.

I picked up a gnome statue that was sitting on the “to do” pile and looked at her.
“Don’t say it,” Mom said. “I am not, NOT, getting rid of those two little gnomes. Your niece gave them to me. I adore them.”
I smiled. I was learning about the importance of “things” in a mother’s life, a Mom who had lived in the same town for more than 40 years and then at the age of 85, made a complete change, moving from the East Coast to here in the Midwest. She’s a true pioneer, our Mom.
I set the gnome on the desk next to her computer.  “I like it,” I said. “It’s sweet.”
“And her little hand is around here somewhere,” Mom said.
“What?” I picked up the statue again to look at it. “Oh, yeah.” The girl gnome’s hand was missing. Broken clean off.
“Let me see, Sis. Maybe I can glue it back on for her,” my brother offered. He’s mister fix-it. I don’t know when he learend it but he’s darn good at it. 

“Well, first we have to find her hand in all this,” Mom said. “It’s a tiny little hand.”
I peeked around, but didn’t stir myself much. We’d been on our feet, moving, cleaning, re-arranging for four hours and now I just wanted to enjoy Mom’s new place.  I knew I’d be coming here a lot. And I liked it.
“So, she’s just gonna sit there, needing a hand?” big brother asked.
I looked across the room at him, saw the twinkle in his eye. Needing a hand – ha! He’s so funny.
The “word” game was afoot.
“Yup, she’s just gonna go one-handed, wherever she may gnome,” I said.
He smiled, and I knew he was thinking, thinking…
“Ah, well, if she can’t go anywhere, there’s no place like gnome,” he said and paused.
And then we all broke out laughing.
We spent years  playing with words as kids. My brother turned into an excellent speaker; I went with written words.

KC, his wife, was now giggling. Mom was laughing, and I know why. Because we were all together, the first time in two years, and working together to make her new home.  Laylou and Irish walked past us now and then and shook their heads and smiled. 
“Maybe she comes from a broken gnome,” I said and glanced at my brother. He couldn’t stand it; he did his famous guffaw and indicated in that silent sibling language we shared that I could have the “win” on this game.
That little gnome now sits in the sun at Mom’s place and her missing  hand is filled in with the reflections of a family moment .

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§ 6 Responses to You didn’t have to be there…

  • anno says:

    Didn’t have to be there at all.. you caught this moment just perfectly!

  • I knew there was a reason I liked you! 😉

    So, this is what I’ve spent my weekend doing – helping my 85-year-old mother with her move to the Midwest form the East Coast. The difference here, is that the move actually took place on March 26th, and we’ve been doing a second move this weekend. This time, however, she’s moving to a place that’s a far better match for her, so I’m happy.

    And we do the pun thing all the time, too. My DH took Friday off and we’ve spent the last two days hauling things and helping her to get set so when she walked in last night, many things were in place. D deflected his loss of free time by punning away. 😉

    I hope your mom is very happy in her new home. I like my mom’s new home, too.

  • shoreacres says:

    I’ve got to hand it to you – I couldn’t gnome anyone any more clever!

  • jeanie says:

    What a wonderful experience for all of you to share — it’s hard work moving anyone about, but oh, how much fun you make it sound! All that warmth and love, laughter. All I could think is your mom must have just felt incredibly joyful to see her children and grandchildren around her, laughing, joking, helping, and being together.

    I have this big smile on my face, still!

  • laylou says:

    You know, I didn’t even notice the gnome didn’t have a hand until this picture despite the talk about it =)

    I hope gram’s cell phone is still charged!

  • Lys says:

    i love moments like that, this really made me smile 🙂

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