My mother is 84 years old.
She skated with the Ice Follies, raised four children, survived divorce and a second challenging marriage, rolled in a car three years ago and picked herself up to begin life again. My mother is petite tungsten. She raised us to work hard, be gracious, and appreciate the beauty of creation and music.
She came for a visit. To do so, she climbed on a shuttle from Duluth and when she arrived at the Minneapolis airport she was summarily dumped by a driver who was in a hurry. In the midst of his rush, she was dropped at the wrong place with the wrong suitcase. How to connect with her waiting (in the wrong place) daughter? How to forgive herself for her suitcase blunder?
We found each other due to a kind fellow traveler. As we were going down the escalator to get into the car and there discern how to retrieve her missing suitcase, a traveler ahead of her lost control of her suitcase. Said suitcase, with handle in the up position, wedged itself in such a way that as my mother went down the escalator that suitcase handle encountered and gouged her shin. She was trapped. She was injured. I was there and powerless to do anything but hold onto her.
She limped away and after a few steps tossed off in a sort of no-big-deal way that she was bleeding.
And so she was. Her leg had been barked and opened. When she allowed a look at it, my whole body hurt because she had such grievous wounds.
We got her suitcase after a trip to the Mall of America Transport Hub and to Shakopee. All the while she worried; not about her leg, but about how she was inconveniencing me.
I am so very much aware that the woman of steel and grit and heart is a woman made fragile by years and life.
She let me tend her. She whose voice, tenderness and steel I carry was willing to let me kneel at her feet and tend the places of wounding. It felt like a passing of the mantle. Much of me is moved and grateful to be able to mother my mother. The other much younger and surely primal part of me wants to shout and fuss because it will never be done with needing a mother, this child.
I will never be done with needing my mother.