30 December 2010

Lunch With My Mother And Her Friend

When I was a teenager, I enjoyed the company of my mother's friends, especially two in particular.  Mrs. Orzel and Mrs. De Land were both very intelligent and interesting people, and I always noticed that my mother was happier and more confident when she was around them.  Maybe that was the reason why I enjoyed being around them:  They made my mother into the person I knew she really was.

Of course, even though I never sensed that they were speaking to me with condescension, I knew even then that I could not consider them as friends or peers.  They were my mother's age, give or take, and I was less than half that.  And, of course, I was living as a boy.  Perhaps they knew that, at least in some ways, I was different from the others.  Those differences may well have been the reason why we got along and I actually preferred spending time with them than with my so-called peers.

My mother is still in touch with Mrs. Orzel who, like her daughter,  has been battling cancer in another part of the country.  She has sent her regards to me, and I've sent mine to her, through my mother.  Sometimes I think I'd like to see her again.

Yesterday I had the sort of encounter I would like to have with Mrs. Orzel--with another of my mother's friends.  We all went to lunch at the local Ruby Tuesday.  And I saw the same sort of change in my mother I used to see when she was around her friends all those years ago:  She was a happier and more confident person.  That has something to do with the fact that her friend can empathise with her in ways that my father, whatever his other virtues, never could.

Fortunately for my mother, this friend lives very close by.  They play bingo together, along with a few other female friends about their age, and sometimes they get together for lunch.  My mother's friend is almost the definition of a "lovely" person:  You feel good about yourself, and a sense of peace, when you're around her.  And I felt that she not only accepted, but welcomed, me.  Perhaps my being my mother's daughter was reason enough for her.  That's fine with me.  I never had the sense she was "tolerating" me.

I have always felt close to my mother.  But I have had, lately, the sense that our relationship is going to change.  I could not say how; I still don't think I can.  However, I think that perhaps some emotional channel of which I'd previously been unaware will open up.  It may well have to do with the wishes I had when I was talking with my mother's friends all of those years ago.

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