There is a blanket of snow over everything this morning. Street lights bring a sparkle to the mounds that cover cars and while you can hear the familiar morning sounds, everything seems muffled somehow.
I’ve suffered some sort of muscle strain to my shoulder blade and rib cage…a result, I’m sure, of the intense hand-stripping and sanding and rolling-of-paint from the past month. By all appearances, my readers would think that it’s busy-business as usual in this house, but truly for three days I’ve been rather incapacitated. As a result, the house is falling down around me, typical driving schedule has ground to a halt and every small action has become a conscious decision.
Blah blah blah…the magic of it though is…yes, my children have responded.
After rising up out of my sanctuary at around midnight, having been woken by music from upstairs, I complained and received apologies as my son did not know I was sound asleep in bed. I spoke to my daughter on the phone…letting her know that driving her from the train station in a blizzard was an impossibility and so as I put down the phone, I was left with a sinking feeling that again, I had failed my children.
Then, out of the blue, the phone rings…within minutes. It was the cheery morning voice of my London-daughter…almost a squeal…I could hear her smile over the phone lines! She said, “Mom we have snow! Two inches of snow! It looks like home!” Now, I realize that sometimes I take things for more than they are, but I honestly feel that her voice was sent as a gift to me at that very moment…that somehow she felt my sadness, my frustration and my pain. My own mother and I have shared such circumstances before from a distance and I DO know that I have heard her voice and found it comfort over the years apart, during circumstances that she could not have imagined. I could hear movement and rustling as she spoke and readied herself for morning while we spoke…she said, “Oh good! Here are my mittens from Great-Grampa’s woolen mill! I’m going to need these this morning!”
My London-daughter assured me that dancing-daughter would find her way home. Her voice of empathy was comfort to me. It was beautiful.
It is not a typical thing for anyone to see me like this and so my children were circling around me, not really knowing how the pieces fit…bringing me a bag of frozen broccoli (this makes me smile) to ice or running me a hot tub full of bath salts. It’s as though roles have reversed and I’m feeling quite helpless.
When my daughter came home from Dance Joni (a collaboration between Joni Mitchell and the Alberta Ballet) last evening late…having been refused a drive from the train station from dear ol’ Mom, she found me curled up and crying on the red sofa…quite helpless about what to do with myself really. She rubbed me in all of the sore places…soothed me with her words as I spewed out my apology for not being able to drive her.
She then told me the story, as I curled up with a pillow, of the meeting with Joni Mitchell, a musician and artist I have loved since my University days. In fact, I introduced both of my girls to her music. She read three pages of notes from her notebook, weaving little reactions and insights into them as she went. It was magic in the midst of difficulty. I become fearful sometimes about anything ever happening to me. I want for them to be ok. And I know they will be.
When the interview in the lecture theater had finished, after the ballet, my daughter lingered in order that she clasp the hand of this phenomenal song-writer. She said, “Mom, I learned this from you.” She said, “It was somewhat awkward, and everyone was leaving, but I hung back…I even waited while she went outside for a smoke. But, I shook her hand. I told her my name. She told me hers and laughed saying, “But you knew that, didn’t you?” In the end my daughter left with Joni’s signature and the mark of her palm in her own hand. I have shaken hands with Bo-Diddley, Amos Garrett, Doris McCarthy, Mulcaster, Henri Masson…it is a thing with me. And so some of that has “rubbed off” and I am warmed by that.
I had a restless and uncomfortable night, even after the soak in bath salts. But, there was a certain peace about the interactions and the love that was shared.
I look at the snow outside this morning and think only of the good cheer that snow in London gave my first-born as she readied herself for work and made a choice to call her Mom. I am blessed.